One of the oldest sustainable farms in the U.S., Schweiger Vineyards, is this month’s green company feature. Located in picturesque St. Helena, Calif., this large vineyard and winery has been producing fine organic wine and fruit since 1982. Originally purchased in 1960 by the Schweiger family, the vineyard is passionate about family values as well as preserving the environment for future generations.
Today, the family owned and operated vineyards are comprised of 35 total acres producing about 5,000 cases of wine each year. The land is divided into 25 acres of Cabernet, four acres of Chardonnay, two acres of Merlot and several micro-blocks of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Sirah. True to tradition, the family members are involved in the day-to-day process of producing and selling each bottle.
Sustainability: Actions Speak Louder than Words
According to Schweiger Vineyards, sustainability is much more than farming, it is a way of life. The Schweiger family believes that being friendly to the environment means finding ways to use the land that will provide for people and still preserve precious resources for those to come.
The Schweiger’s incorporate sustainability practices in many creative ways around the farm ‒ a few are listed below.
Energy Savings. The wine barrel cavern is completely underground which eliminates the need for refrigeration. Schweiger Vineyards also makes excellent use of solar panels to power all energy needed to run the farm. Visitors can also check out daily energy usage of the vineyards on the company’s website by clicking here.
Air Quality. To decrease their carbon footprint, the vineyards have chosen to clear only 60 percent of the total property. This has left indigenous plant life such as Giant Redwoods, Douglas Firs, and Live Oaks which absorb Carbon Dioxide and release Oxygen into the air.
Erosion Prevention. The terraced hillsides on the farm are designed to have only a two percent slope with a two percent slope going into the bank (slopes that are more than five percent come with drainage catch basins). Schweiger Vineyards also take an extra step to prevent erosion by pre-wintering each harvesting area with seeding and spreading of rice straw.
Rich Soil. The Vineyard is cultivated to create compost of wintering legumes that add nitrogen to the soil. The property also sits on rich volcanic soil and features unique micro-climates favorable for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Green Building. A recently built winery facility has been constructed with insulated concrete forms which provide an insulation factor of R-50. When construction was completed there was no excess form work to strip and dispose of ‒ eliminating any potential wood waste.
Other Eco-Friendly Items. Organic merchandise is available for purchase in the tasting room for all guests to take home.
Inside Each Schweiger Wine
Each organic bottle of wine produced by Schweiger Vineyards is guaranteed to have to the freshest fruit quality and no chance of oxidation or taint. Every bottle is accompanied with a detailed description which includes specifics such as; age of vines and soil type, date picked, release date, number of cases produced, alcohol analysis, and the winemaker.
New this year is the release of Schweiger Vineyard’s 2006 Dedication™ wine. This special wine marks the fourth release of the bordelaise project. This fruity blend consists of 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 percent Merlot, 9 percent Malbec, 2 percent Cabernet Franc. The wine was produced on the sustainable farmland and has perfect layers of cherries, red plums, dark chocolate, and much more. The Dedication™ will be a limited release of 420 cases and comes with a 20+ year lifespan under proper storage conditions.
Family and Friends Always Come First
To show their appreciation for loyal customers, Schweiger Vineyards has an Extended Family Wine Club service where wine enthusiasts can build their collections and support the eco-friendly efforts of the vineyard. Members of this club enjoy exclusive benefits and levels of membership not available to the general public.
Advantages of joining this program include; invitation to special winery events, 20 percent off current released wines (online and at the winery), first priority to purchase new and limited release wines, access to wines made only for club members, opportunities to buy library wines, and complimentary tasting for up to six guests at the winery. Club levels consist of Extended Family, Red Connoisseurs Club, Collector’s Club, and Bonus Shipment.
For more information about Schweiger Vineyards and their sustainability practices visit www.schweigervineyards.com.