Agriculture and tourism are two of Virginia’s largest industries. Wineries are a very important part of both of these industries. With over 250 wineries and multiple wine trails, Virginia has established itself as a wine lover’s destination vacation. Luckily for the planet, wineries haven’t been entirely excluded from the green movement.
Recycling and reduction of waste: Must place highly visible and well-marked recycling containers in all visitor areas
Minimization of the use of disposable foodservice products: Must use products that are made from bio-based or renewable resources and provide for recycling or composting of items
Minimization of the use of pesticides / herbicides / fungicides and fertilizers: Must have a plan to minimize the use of chemical treatments associated with grape production
Efficient water use: Must have a plan for water conservation
Energy efficiency: Must have a plan in place to reduce overall energy consumption
According to Virginia’s official blog, ”many wineries are also engaged in other sustainable practices such as :
Solar power (two wineries are now producing more energy than they use)
Two winery tasting rooms are certified by the US Green Building Council (see more info below)
Geothermal heating and air conditioning systems
Composting all food waste and disposables from tasting rooms and certain festivals
Stormwater collection systems that reuse water for flushing toilets and irrigation
Innovative wastewater treatment designs that use wetland plants to purify water prior to discharge
Winemaking techniques that dramatically minimize waste, water use, and energy needs for stabilization
Recycling corks and using bottles, corks, and packaging that minimize material uses and waste”
List of Certified VA Green Wineries, including their websites and pages about environmental commitment) :
DelFosse Vineyards & Winery, Faber
Gadino Cellars Winery,Washington
Peaks of Otter Winery, Bedford
Philip Carter Winery, Hume (certification pending)
White Rock Vineyards & Winery, Goodview
Wisteria Farm and Vineyard, Stanley
The Winery at Bull Run, Cave Ridge Vineyard,and Rappahannock Cellars are among other wineries making environmentally conscientious choices, though they are not certified yet. The Winery at Bull Run has installed a 200-square-foot solar shingled roof, cutting down on its electricity usage.
At Cave Ridge and Rappahannock Cellars, oak barrels are recycled and reused to reduce the waste of the winemaking process. All of Ducard’s food waste is composted. Sunset Hills Vineyard, North Gate Vineyard, and DuCard Vineyards’ tasting rooms are 100% solar. You could say Sunset Hills literally turns “sunshine into wine”.
Cooper Vineyards and North Gate Vineyards go above and beyond the Virginia Green Winery Certification and have received the United States Green Building Council’s LEED Certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, serves as a benchmark for “identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.” Each certified building has a LEED scorecard out of 100 base points with 6 possible Innovation in Design and 4 Regional Priority points . There are four categories Certified (40–49 points), Silver (50–59 points), Gold (60–79 points), and Platinum (80 points and above).
Here are the scorecards for VA winery buildings:
So the next time you’re planning a wine tasting trip, make sure you follow these wineries’ ‘leed’ and made eco-friendly choices. Plus, most are usually smart and wallet-friendly as well. For example, if you carpool, you only need one designated driver, and you can reduce both your gas bill and carbon emissions.