Vineyards factor prominently in my life, having grown up surrounded by them. When I read that Fetzer Vineyards, located in California’s Mendocino County, diverted 97.7 percent of its waste, I felt like shouting. An image of farm workers burning waste came to mind. It is a common practice for vineyard waste to be burned, a practice which is obviously bad for local air quality.
There is more good news concerning Fetzer Vineyards. The wine maker announced this week that it received platinum level Zero Waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC). Platinum certification is the highest level USZWBC offers. The goal of zero waste is to divert all end-use material from landfill, incineration and the environment and achieve a minimum of 90 percent diversion.
“Since our founding in 1968, Fetzer Vineyards has been a pioneer in sustainable business practices,” Josh Prigge, sustainability manager at Fetzer Vineyards, said in a statement. “We are honored to be the first wine company to achieve Zero Waste certification. This achievement reinforces that companies can work to create a closed loop system that is both profitable and sustainable.”
Here are some of the ways Fetzer has diverted its waste:
Fetzer takes climate change seriously: It is a founding member of the Climate Registry and one of the first wineries to join. It has reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 percent since 2005. Fetzer also takes water conservation seriously: Water is important to a vineyard, as irrigation is essential to grape production. Fetzer has water conservation practices in place, including meters to track and monitor water use at all vineyards, drip irrigation, regular soil moisture monitoring, and storage ponds. The water conservation measures extend to its winery and bottling operations and include the use of water efficient barrel sanitizing equipment and nozzles. The use of paracetic acid to clean wine tanks is another water conservation measure and it reduces water use by about 200,000 gallons a year.
Image credit: Fetzer Vineyards
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.