Understanding Sustainability in the Winery and Vineyard

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by

wente vineyard livermore valleyWhat does it really mean to say you are a sustainable winery, from the vineyards that bear the fruits of your labor to the building where you ferment your grape juice?

I posed this question and more to podcast guest Karl Wente, Fifth Generation Winemaker and Senior Vice-President of Winemaking at Wente Vineyards (sponsor of my Wine Without Worry show). When it comes to day-to-day operations of the winery (and in the vineyards, too), Karl states, “First and foremost is water.” At Wente they recycle 100 percent of the water used for process tasks (like cleaning tanks) which, after going through a two-stage filtering system, allows it to be used in the vineyard.

So what about mitigating water use outside? Let’s get high tech. Wente has sap flow sensors that tell how much water the grape vine itself is using. Soil moisture probes? You bet. Measuring pre-dawn leaf water potential? Of course. And weekly aerial images of the vineyards to see where more water might be needed (or not)? Absolutely.

[Find out more about Sustainability Practices at Wente Vineyards.]

karl wenteWe also shift gears and talk about another of Karl’s passions besides wine: music. “I love playing my guitar and I try to touch it every day,” he reveals. Karl also tells me he could press “play” on his online music collection and go 263 days without repeating the same song. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the music playing in the winery is diverse: Mozart, Little Feat, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Mumford & Sons.

And what’s the first step to resolving a wine blend that just isn’t coming together? Karl will tell his staff, “Well, we gotta change the music!”

Let’s rock! And roll on with the show:

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