Environment and Sustainable Farming
Vintners recognize this valley is a treasure that must be protected on all fronts.
The NVV supports farming practices that are environmentally sensitive, economically viable and socially responsible. Thanks to numerous initiatives and self-imposed regulations, Napa Valley's vintners and growers farm and do business under the most restrictive conditions of any wine region, all designed to protect this place for future generations.
Napa Green: A History of Sustainability
The NVV worked with other industry groups and the environmental community to develop standards for vineyard planting and operations, which would qualify for certification through the Napa Green program. The program uses voluntary, incentive-based efforts to encourage growers to use sustainable farming techniques, conserve soil and water, repair erosion sites, reduce chemical use, and restore habitat. The overall goal is to improve water quality and protect the resources of the Napa River watershed while also addressing local, state and federal regulations. Currently, there are more than 38,000 acres enrolled in this unique program.
The NVV supported the publication of Vineyards in the Watershed: Sustainable Winegrowing in Napa County. The book, published by the Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group, is a collection of case studies and personal interviews with local farmers and addresses the resources that make Napa Valley one of the finest places in the world to grow wine grapes - the soil, air, water and the people. It is a testament to how local vintners and grape growers are developing and implementing environmentally sensitive and sustainable farming practices. The publication was funded by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and other community and environmental groups such as the Audubon Society Napa-Solano Chapter; Friends of the Napa River; Sierra Club; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to name a few. The NVV also supports other educational programs of the Napa Sustainable Winegrowers Group - dedicated to promoting sustainable farming practices including natural farming, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), pesticide reduction or elimination and, restoration of natural habitats on vineyard properties.
Napa Valley vintners and growers are at the forefront of sustainable farming practices and innovations, including those that address responsible pest control. Interestingly, the most commonly used method in Napa is sulfur. Sulfur, an organic fungicide, is a natural compound found in mineral form in both aquatic and soil environments and is used to control mildew and rot in fruits and ornamental plants. Between 1999 and 2000, pest control use in Napa County decreased by 10% - a trend seen statewide as well. In addition, the use of non-sulfur methods decreased in Napa County by 40%. And we're not just talking about grape growers. This is a trend that appears to reflect a community-wide effort showing that pest control companies, government agencies, and other agricultural users are employing invasive methods to a lesser degree.
A growing number of Napa Valley vintners are engaged in organic farming. Organic farmers must manage their crops through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops, supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Incidentally, Napa County is home to 18% of all the certified organic vineyard acreage in the state. As a community, Napa Valley vintners support the reduction, and whenever possible, the elimination of chemical pest control and synthetic fertilizers.
The Napa Valley Vintners will continue to work with others in the agricultural industry, environmental community and regulatory agencies to ensure the continued health and viability of the beautiful valley that we all call home.