Sustainability in the vineyard and winery has been a longtime focus for us here at Hafner Vineyard in Alexander Valley. We are committed to caring for the land, soil, water, staff and patrons in a way that will ensure our business’ ability to last for generations.
In the vineyard, we carefully steward the land by:
- Utilizing cover crops in every other row to fix nitrogen in the vines’ root system and provide organic material to cultivate back into the soil.
- Leaving alternate rows without cover crop to ensure firm footing for the vineyard crew. It also reduces tractor compaction of the soil.
- Treating for pests selectively as opposed to blanket spraying the entire vineyard.
- Using a biodiesel/diesel mix in our tractors so that we reduce our carbon footprint.
- Creating habitats for owls and other birds that prey on vineyard pests such as gophers.
- Proactively caring for areas at risk of erosion to protect the topsoil.
- Planting specific flowers which attract beneficial insects to fight off the detrimental ones.
- Eliminating the use of herbicides.
- Utilizing drip irrigation to minimize water use.
- Using sophisticated methods to measure water content in the vine and in the ground. This ensures that we irrigate at the appropriate time with the right amount.
Many of the sustainable practices often result in greater expense (i.e. weeding mechanically and by hand-shoveling versus spraying with herbicides) and harder work. But we are committed to stewarding the land carefully.
Our winery is certified sustainable after completing the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) certificate. In the cellar and office, we continue to focus on sustainability by:
- Generating solar power from three sets of panels on the winery roof that provide 40% of our energy.
- Conserving water.
- Recycling and composting.
- Committing to a bottling process where capsules, corks, glass, label backing, plastic parts and shrink wrap are all recycled.
- Utilizing night air to cool the winery.
- Building a winery with extra thick insulation to make air conditioning unnecessary in the cellar.
- Utilizing high post-consumer waste paper for our printed materials.
- Using recycled and recyclable shipping materials.
- Keeping our wine bottles lighter to reduce fuel used to deliver over 30,000 packages a year.
We believe in maintaining the land. Of our 250 acres, only 100 are planted with vines. The rest is wild, covered with laurel bays, live oaks and native grasses that act as a sanctuary for wild animals and feed for livestock. While it may not be as beautiful to a person’s eye, we leave the riparian area along Sausal Creek un-manicured. This too becomes a home for animals as well as a watering hole. (We are Fish Friendly Certified.)
Almost twenty families derive their livelihood from Hafner Vineyard. And most staff have been a part of the team for over two decades...some for three decades and others for four decades! We enjoy working together with a common commitment to high quality from beginning to end. Respectful, lively, accountable, hands on, focused...are all accurate descriptors of the team here. We all take pride in the absence of “employee turnover” and the decades of commitment our staff has made to our wine and our patrons.
How does sustainability translate to our patrons? It brings us great joy when parents pass the tradition on to their adult children (and adult grandchildren!). We aim to provide quality wine, at a great value with personal service and we believe our patrons appreciate that.