Sustainability

Sustainability in Practice (SIP)™ Certification

SIP™ Sustainability In Practice, is a sustainable vineyard certification program developed by the Central Coast Vineyard Team, whose mission is to promote the three “E’s” of sustainability: Environmental stewardship, Economic viability and Equitable treatment of employees.

SIP™ goes far beyond reducing pesticide or herbicide use. It addresses biodiversity, community involvement, energy efficiency, air quality, water quality, conservation, and the treatment of workers. Growers are able to evaluate their practices on a whole farm basis through a series of measurable standards in a variety of subject areas. Following are the subjects and some of the highlighted practices, which all of our vineyards have implemented, thus receiving certification.

View the Central Coast Vineyard Team's SIP Certified Sustainable Vineyards and Wines video! Features Erin Amaral, Pacific Vineyard Company's Viticulturist, alongside vineyards we manage sustainably.

 

Conservation and Enhancement of Biological DiversitY

A solution-based, written formal conservation plan on each property…

  • Identifying wetland areas, endangered species, soil erosion problems, and more
  • Farming for longevity and preservation for future generations 
  • Alternative mowing to maximize biodiversity
  • Owl boxes throughout the vineyard to promote predation of vertebrates
  • Use of livestock in non-crop areas to help prevent the spread of noxious weeds

 

Vineyard Acquisition, Establishment, and Management

Sites are carefully evaluated prior to planting...

  • Goal is to maintain vine balance that optimizes quality fruit production and vine health
  • Evaluation includes: soil type, erosion potential, slope, row orientation, spacing, proper rootstock and scion selection, trellis, potential pest problems, irrigation and frost protection

 

Soil Conservation and Water Quality

Implementing the best management practices and minimizing our impact...

  • Monitoring soil characteristics and water quality through regular analysis to help implement fertility and minimize environmental impacts of any potential off site movement of soil, water, and chemicals
    • Cover cropping for improved infiltration and erosion control within the vineyard
    • Filter strips in the non-crop areas
    • Water diversions for storm events

 

Water Conservation

Delivering only the amount required...

  • All wells are protected from contamination with cement foundations and back-flow prevention devices
  • Drip Irrigation is used for vineyard irrigation
  • Water system sampling is done yearly with the Distribution Uniformity testing method
  • Irrigation amounts scheduled weekly using evapotranspiration, soil moisture probes, and observing vine stress, in order to deliver only the amount that the vines actually require to maintain balance
     

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

Two jobs performed with one piece of equipment...

  • Wells are tested for pump energy efficiency every 2 years
  • Implementation of dual jobs with one tractor: mowing and discing, hedging and mowing/discing
  • Spray weeds with a Honda rather than with a tractor
  • Installed Variable Frequency Drive electric motors on pumps
  • Clocks on pumps for Time of Use meters

 

Air Quality

Wind monitors to avoid drift...

  • Written spray program minimizes off site movement of chemicals
  • Use of devices to monitor when the wind is a factor so the sprayers will stop spraying to avoid drift 
  • Use of electric and natural gas engines on the wells
  • Minimizing dust by watering roads, using recycled asphalt on heavily traveled roads , ATVs,  and maintaining vegetation in non-crop areas
  • Elimination of sulfur dust
  • Utilization of chipping instead of burning to incorporate wood residue from pruning, then adding the biomass back into the soil
     

Social Equity

Maintaining healthy relationships...

  • Health insurance offered to all employees
  • Proper documentation training to all employees
  • Ag Van Car Pooling is provided through the Ride Share program
  • Shade trailers provided for breaks and lunch
  • Maintain neighbor relations

 

Pest Management

Sustainable pest management methods continually researched...

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is practiced
  • We no longer use the most toxic category 1 pesticides
  • Insect control methods are done biologically and with soft chemicals
  • Spot spraying weeds vs. spraying entire vineyard
  • We use soft chemicals at early stages of growth to control mealy bugs.
  • We use pheromone cards to disorient  the mating male vine mealybugs
  • Implementation of biological control through the release of parasitic wasps
    • Anagyrus pseudococci for vine mealybug
    • Pseudophycus flavidulus for obscure mealybug
  • We use ant bait stations to control the ants.

 

Continuing Education

Encouraging employees to stay up-to-date...

  • Our company belongs to and supports many organizations that encourage and promote sustainable practices like the CCVT, CAWG, ASEV, CAPCA, etc.
  • We also support local organizations like Paso Robles and SLO Vintner’s Grower’s Associations
  • Employees are offered opportunities to increase their knowledge on growing practices that may help improve the health and longevity of the vineyard

 

Product Assurance and Business Sustainability

Working together to improve fruit quality...

  • Communication between vineyard and winery staff to maintain high quality fruit and wine production
  • Crop estimates to help monitor production levels and improve quality
  • Fruit is carefully monitored prior to harvest to ensure optimum sugar and acidity at the time of harvest
    • Winemakers are encouraged to visit vineyard site regularly
    • Brix, titratable acidity and PH are monitored weekly from post veraison to the day of harvest
  • Block evaluations are performed the day before harvest to evaluate the quality and balance of the fruit and vines at harvest
    • Tracked annually to help improve quality over time and/or identify vintages
  • Annual wine tasting held with winemaker to help identify practices in the vineyard that contribute to improved fruit and wine quality