We are unwavering in our commitment to operate a sustainable business, from the methods we use to tend the estate-grown grapes, to the processes by which those grapes become wine, to the distribution of that wine to our customers. But the route to sustainability began with an a-ha moment, rather than a sense of obligation, or a response to a trend.
Dave and Monte were sorting grapes in 2000 when Dave commented, “Hey, we don’t wash these grapes?” In that moment, Dave thought about everything that had come into contact with those grapes—the bugs, and the dirt, and anything that they’d been sprayed with—and the fact that all of it would remain with the grapes as they traveled from the de-stemmer to the fermenter and ultimately into the bottle. Then and there, we vowed to do everything we could to ensure we didn’t put anything on the grapes that we wouldn’t be willing to drink (diluted of course).
We are also guided by a view of the land comprising our vineyard as a living organism. In order to keep the soil alive and vibrant, to grow fruit of the highest quality, and to maintain the vineyard as a long-term financial asset, we must be stewards of this living organism. The desire to protect and preserve the resources critical to the production of Patton Valley wines is at the heart of our commitment to embrace sustainable practices, but these efforts add considerable quality to our wines as well.
To learn more about how Patton Valley puts sustainability into practice, click on the questions below.Why sustainable versus organic?
Patton Valley is committed to evaluating its operation from a “whole-farm” perspective, taking into account how the land is used and how the wine it produces is crafted and packaged. Organic growing practices, often the backbone of a sustainable farming operation, refer to specific inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, as well as additives used in wine making. An organic designation does not guarantee responsible land management, energy use or packaging choices. For us, being sustainable is about looking beyond organic inputs to assess operations on a larger scale. Being an organic operation is noteworthy, but is not, in and of itself, the only requirement for being a sustainable operation.
What practices make Patton Valley sustainable?
- No herbicides are used in the vineyard. Weeds aren’t necessarily a bad thing. We use mechanical cultivation to manage weeds, a practice that enhances biodiversity and promotes the proliferation of natural systems for controlling pests.
- Vines get organic compost created by recycling the stems and grape skins from past fermentations.
- Vineyard turf is managed carefully, to minimize soil erosion and run-off.
- Biodiesel tractor fuel is used in an effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
- When they are used, fungicide sprays are typically made from natural, low-impact organic materials like sulfur, whey and mineral oil.
- Packaging is important. Most of our wine is bottled in lightweight, domestically produced “eco-glass” bottles. The resources necessary to make these bottles are substantially fewer, and the lighter package weights require less fuel to transport.
- Customers receive news and announcements from Patton Valley via email, which requires fewer resources. Little things like this add up.
- Employees and their families are promised a work environment that sustains, protects and values them.
Who certifies that Patton Valley is sustainable?
Patton Valley participates in the LIVE program (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), a not-for-profit organization that provides education and certification for vineyards and wineries. LIVE uses international standards of sustainable viticulture and enological practices in both wine-grape and wine production. These practices are based on an independent third-party verified checklist system consisting of required and prohibited elements, as well as numerous ecological options. We maintain detailed records that the organization reviews during annual inspections. Our vineyards and winery are both LIVE certified.