Green VA Wineries

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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.

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VA wineries can be certified as Virginia Green Wineries by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality when they prove that they are practicing at least three of the following  “core activities”:

  • 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) :

Attimo Winery, Christiansburg (Striving for Little Impact to the Environment)

Barrel Oak Winery, Delaplane (A Dream Come True)

Cooper Vineyards, Louisa (Green Tasting Room)

CrossKeys Vineyard, Mt. Crawford (My visit)

Delaplane Cellars, Delaplane (The Environment)

DelFosse Vineyards & Winery, Faber

DuCard Vineyards, Etlan (Stewardship)

Gadino Cellars Winery,Washington

Little Washington Winery, Washington (The Edge and my visit)

North Gate Vineyard, Purcellville (Green Initiatives)

Peaks of Otter Winery, Bedford

Philip Carter Winery, Hume (certification pending)

Stinson Vineyards, Crozet (About Us)

Sunset Hills Vineyard, Purcellville (About Sustainability)

The Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg (Commitment to the Environment)

West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery, Max Meadows (Our Story)

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.

Ducard Winery's Solar Panels

DuCard Winery’s Solar Panels

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”.

Sunset Hills Turning Sunshine into Wine

Sunset Hills Turning 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).

LEED Certifications

LEED Certifications

Here are the scorecards for VA winery buildings:

North Gate Vineyard Winery Tasting Room (Gold)
Cooper Vineyards (Platinum)

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.

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