These days, "sustainability" is a
common buzzword in Dry Creek Valley, and beyond.
For growers and consumers alike, this is a good
thing. By adopting more environmentally responsible
farming and business practices, we up the odds of
survival for our irreplaceable Planet Earth.
The essence of the sustainability movement rests on
the principle that we must find new ways to satisfy
our present needs without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs. Our
desire is to leave the land to our children in
better shape than how
we found it.
To that end, our winery embraces
a more earth-friendly approach to vineyard
management called integrated crop management. This
style of farming employs numerous nature-based
strategies to deal with pests and other viticultural
issues. To find out more about our sustainable
farming practices and specific techniques that we
are currently utilizing, see the descriptions below.
These natural techniques help us move
closer each year toward sustainable agriculture:
Growing cover crops like clover and bell
beans helps rebuild depleted soil by
releasing bound nutrients in the soil and
minimizing the need to fertilize.
Mature cover crops are tilled into the earth
where they break down to form nourishing
By using special seed
blends that flower at different times, we
also attract beneficial insects that help
control pest insect populations.
To conserve water, we
focus on the specific moisture needs of each
individual block of vines. Soil moisture
measurements allow for specific irrigation
adjustments right up to the day of
harvest. Precise watering also helps
optimize fruit quality.
Hi-Tech Pest Control
Our winery is the hub of
a communal weather tracking grid. Using
up-to-the-minute predictive data, collected
at the central processing unit (operated by
Sonoma County Grape Growers), allows us to
make more informed decisions about the
potential for mildew growth and pest
The winery provides
specialized housing and shady platform
perches designed to encourage birds of prey
to adopt our vineyards as their feeding
Red-tailed hawks and barn owls do a
great job of controlling gopher and rodent
populations, eliminating the need for chemical
Owl's are a natural part of the our
ecosystem. Rather than shooing them away, we
encourage nesting for owls by providing them
specially designed houses. Owls help us in
many ways. They prey on bugs and other
insects that could be harmful to the
vineyard. They also keep other birds, who
could potentially be interested in our
grapes, away from our vines.
Like the owl, bats are also a part of our
ecosystem. By providing shelter for bats, we
prevent them from nesting in sensitive areas
within our winery. Bats also serve a useful
purpose in helping to control the insect
population in our vineyard.
Riparian Habitat Management
To thwart the
glassy-winged sharpshooter, vector of the
dreaded Pierce’s Disease, we are eradicating
non-native plants that harbor this insect.
By replanting native vegetation, this
program promotes biodiversity and helps
restore nature’s balance along the riparian
creek zones of Dry Creek Valley.
Recyclable Shipping Materials
winery practices responsible recycling. In
fact, nearly all of our shipping materials
are now 100% recycled materials, made of a
pulp that is earth-friendly. We send out
over 12,000 shipments a year in recycled
pulp containers. In addition, our
office equipment is timed to go to sleep
when not being used so that we conserve
electricity. Low-energy light bulbs are also
used. Everything we do as a business has an
eye toward ensuring that we are minimally
impacting our planet.
As a result of our commitment to
environmental issues, both locally and on a national
level, we are deeply involved in determining
sustainable farming policies for the future. Along
with other wine industry leaders, we are working to
develop clear and realistic guidelines to help all
growers embrace the principles of sustainable
All of us at Dry Creek Vineyard believe it’s
important to be good stewards of the land. Our
up-front commitment to sustainable farming may be
costly and time-consuming. But long-term, what’s
good for the land is what’s good for all humankind.