GRAPE GROWING

Sustainability is about being a good steward for future generations to come, addressing environmental, social, and economic facets of the equation.

We strive to meet these goals in the vineyard through numerous different approaches. One of the largest payoffs in the vineyard is utilizing cover crops between our vine rows. This creates an environment for beneficial insects, as well as contributing organic matter back to the soil to help feed all of the soil microbes and increase the overall health of the biome. As well as stabilizing the soil for erosion control. Healthy soils lead to strong balanced vines that require fewer outside nutrients applications and fewer irrigation applications. Additionally, these vines are more adept at warding off pests naturally because of their better overall health, thus reducing spray applications. To check-in and get a report card on our soils we perform soils samples every 5 years to see how effectively our long-term nutrient program is working and make any adjustments.

Another way we strive towards sustainability is through incorporating precision agriculture in all of our blocks. Beginning in 2015 we began using a USDA program called EQUIP, this program is designed to bring antiquated irrigation methods such as flood irrigation up to date. Through this program we were able to install precision micro-sprinkler systems on all of our vineyards, thus allowing us to use less water, have more control of how and when we apply, resulting in more balanced vines and keeping salt out of the Colorado river all at once!

In 2018 we applied for a different USDA program titled Conservation Stewardship Program, we were pleased to receive funding for almost every practice that we requested participation in for a 5-year rollout period. Through this program, we are now able to add solar panels to all of our pump stations for our micro-sprinkler systems. Effectively switching our fuel source from the grid to solar. In addition, this program funded irrigation monitoring in our fields. We installed 10 multi-depth probes that allow us to see how quickly our soils dry out between irrigations and how deep our irrigations are reaching. Thus, bringing even more precision to our micro-sprinkler systems.

Our farm was already focused on selecting soft targeted chemicals for pest applications. By selecting chemicals that offer extended protection we can reduce the frequency of spray applications, lowering labor costs, fuel consumption, and lessen soil compaction. Additionally, we make these applications at night, when all of the beneficial insects are resting away from the vineyards so as to not disturb the good guys, that help sentinel the vineyards. As part of the Conservation Stewardship Program mentioned above, we installed a precision spray controller on our applicator that allows us to real-time monitor and adjusts exactly how much we are applying, so that we are achieving the exact target rates, nothing more.

Sustainability also applies to running a farm economically. One way we achieve this is through our trellis selection, we use a trellis system that has very low labor inputs throughout the season, and with its umbrella-like shape, it is highly efficient at capturing and utilizing the sun's rays, resulting in premium grapes at a lower cost to produce.

We address the social component of the equation by offering a productive rewarding work environment. We have fabulous employee retention that is a prime indicator of the satisfaction of one's team. The core component of our team has 2 employees that have been on board for over ten years, and the seasonal component of our team has several that have been returning each year for the last 5. Another way that we give back to the community and industry is by being a leader and serving on volunteer boards. Serving 8 years on the Western Colorado Horticultural Society board, concluding the final year as president. While on this board the members organized the annual educational conference, the largest of its kind for tree fruit growers in Colorado. Additionally, serving on the Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology for 5 years, with 2 years as the chair. The greatest accomplishment for the industry while there was working with several other organizations to garner funding for a full-time viticulture extension agent, it took 3 years to work out all the details and get funding, but we got it done!

Sustainability is dynamic and one never stops working towards it, this is a motto that we wholeheartedly embrace in the vineyard and will stay continuously engaged in striving towards constant improvement.

Grape Grower,

Kaibab Sauvage

WINEMAKING

In the winery, we view sustainability directly as a reduction of wastefulness. The metrics by which we are measured are Environmental Soundness, Economical Feasibility, and Social Equality.

We started by eliminating highly corrosive chemicals in our cleaning processes. For example, utilizing steam to clean and sanitize a barrel, rather than a series of various chemicals to get the same job done. Our sanitizing solution used for stainless steel tank cleaning is a "no-rinse" and air dries on the surface to help save thousands of gallons of rinse water down the drain.

Fermentation nutrients and fining agents used in the winemaking are derived from natural yeast products, most of them OMRI listed. We have also chosen to not use gluten or animal-derived additives or products in our processes.

After fermentation when the wine is racked off the lees, or dead yeast cells, normally this is discarded down the drain. It's a strain on municipal sewer systems and normally they would issue a fine for such an act. Due to our unique location in the vineyard, we have found we can dump this slurry high in nutrients right down the rows to add to the soil diversity.

When pressing grapes into juice for whites or off of the skin for red wines, we've found a similar path for the "pomace". The spent grape skin is dumped into a compost pile which can be later added back as compost to the vines.

Our facility utilizes motion sensor LED lighting and a high-efficiency gas furnace for heat. We are committed to saving energy by not wasting it when we are away from the winery.

We have partnered with vendors who recycle. Our glass partner sends "cullet" or crushed glass chips back to the manufacturing plant to be re-melted into new bottles. Our case goods boxes are 100% recycled and will be used again for cardboard production.

We hope to further improve upon our protocols to become even better stewards of the land which surrounds us.

Winemaker,

Patric L Matysiewski