Sustainability at VSJ
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are passions of ours at Villa San-Juliette, and as of 2013, we are proud to be SIP Certified through a rigorous auditing of our growing practices and winery operations. SIP Certification – which stands for Sustainability In Practice – is a comprehensive process carried out by the Vineyard Team that represents so much more than “green” or “organic” wines. SIP Certification seeks to build community between vineyards, workers and the land. The result is a network of farmers and winemakers passionate about leaving a lasting, healthy legacy to the next generation.
The standards by which SIP Certification is measured address several aspects of the whole farm system, including habitat conservation, energy efficiency, pest management, water conservation, fiscal responsibility and human resources. This approach, which is much broader than organic, biodynamic, natural, or other eco-labels, takes into account the lives of those who work to make the wine, the health of the soil, wildlife, native plants, irrigation, and much more.
Below are just a few of our many practices to promote sustainability and healthy vineyards at Villa San-Juliette.
Biodiversity and Wildlife:
• VSJ alternately mows or tills row middles for maximum biodiversity during the season
• Owl boxes across the property encourage owl habitation as a means of vertebrate pest control
• VSJ avoids the spread of noxious weed species by using clean cover crop seed
• The existing oak habitat was conserved or restored when developing the VSJ vineyards
Soils and Erosion Control:
• All soils on the VSJ property have a low erosion hazard. The primary Soil Series present include Nacimiento-Los Osos complex and Rincon clay loam.
• All slopes are less than 30%.
• Good ground cover and erosion practices have and continue to prevent erosion hazards. Slopes are manageable and row direction is set to optimize soil health.
Water Health and Conservation:
• VSJ irrigates vineyards during off-peak hours when energy demand is at its lowest (at night or in the morning) for energy efficiency and to avoid evaporation.
• Fertilizer applications are timed to maximize nutrient uptake and to reduce the potential for non-point source water pollution.
While wine is considered by some a luxury product, we at VSJ never forget that the winemaking business is primarily about farming. As farmers of something so closely tied to the land, we feel a responsibility to tread lightly and leave this beautiful property as healthy and vibrant as we found it. Thanks to SIP Certification and the Vineyard Team, we aren’t the only ones who feel that way. The next time you enjoy a wine tasting on the Central Coast, show your support for healthy vineyards by asking if the wine is SIP Certified.