Here at Concannon, we blend tradition with innovation in our grape-growing, winemaking and estate management practices. We recently completed a 10-year, $30 million revitalization across vineyards, winery and operations, and in 2010, introduced a new tier of “Conservancy” wines to mark the conservation trust agreements that protect our estate vineyards from future urban development.
This continuum of effort began more than 128 years ago. Since James Concannon founded the winery in 1883, we have pursued the creation of world-class wines that respect and nurture the natural resources of the Livermore Valley.
In 2009, Concannon Vineyard became one of the first wineries to receive third- party certification from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s (CSWA) Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) program. Launched in January 2009, the CCSW program recognizes and fosters best practices in environmental stewardship, conservation of natural resources and socially equitable business management.
Sustainability in the Vineyards
After harvest, grape pumice (the skins, pulp and seeds left over after crush) and other vegetative matter are recycled and composted back to the soil. This practice helps replenish the soil for the next growing cycle.
Cover crops are cultivated between vineyard rows to maintain soil health, retain moisture, and attract beneficial insects.
Well-conditioned, complex soils are crucial for grape-growing, and great care goes into fostering the health of the soil in the vineyards. Varietals are matched to certain soil types based on the varietals’ growing needs and winemaking goals; this practice minimizes soil nutrient depletion.
Beneficial Insects & Owls
Beneficial insects and owls provide natural pest control in the vineyards. We uses permanent cover crops that help attract beneficial insects, and have installed owl boxes throughout its estate vineyards.
Water Conservation/Dry Farming Techniques
Soil and vine stress monitoring devices are in place to assure that the minimum amount of water is used and only when needed.
Sustainable Practices in the Winery
We recycle all packaging, paper, cans and bottles. Office paper is made from at least 30% post-consumer recycled materials, and some office supplies are made of 100% post-consumer recycled materials. An internal audit of the entire company shows a 75 percent reduction in solid waste stream based on recycling efforts, with an estimated 690,000 lbs (or 346 tons) of waste diverted to recycled materials.
During the renovation of the historic tasting room, existing building materials were recycled and/or repurposed whenever possible. The horizontal siding is reclaimed cedar and pillars from the original Concannon building dating back more than 100 years. Vertical redwood siding is from recycled wine tanks. The bricks surrounding the courtyard fountain also come from the original Concannon building. Large barrels have been refurbished for continued use as well.
We recently completed a water audit and are in the process of establishing water reduction targets. Water conservation is a top priority and the goal is to use the minimum amount of water necessary in every sector. Source water reduction measures are used in cleaning and sanitation. The minimal amount of water is used for barrel washing versus a full-water flush. We continue to monitor our water uses and look for innovative ways of implementing other water saving practices.
As part of our cost and carbon reduction and efficiency measures, we installed a solar system on the rooftop of the new winery building that produces approximately 270,000 kilowatt hours a year, supplying roughly 20 percent of all energy needs (actual measurements are between 15-30% depending on production needs. Energy efficient refrigeration and tank temperature control systems are in place. Computer controlled tanks ensure that unnecessary cooling capacity is not used. All production tanks are insulated or jacketed, which translates into energy savings. Energy efficient HVAC systems meet or exceed local standards. Motors, drives and pumps are all selected for maximum efficiency and minimal energy usage.
Automatic lighting controls provide additional energy savings.
Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
Vendors are evaluated for their sustainable practices and we constantly evaluate our own products for packaging reductions.
Sustainability in Wine Packaging
The majority of wines are shipped in unbleached, chlorine-free cardboard cases. This type of cardboard case has a higher percentage of recycled paper than bleached white cardboard.
Whenever possible, water-based inks are used for labels and cases. Water-based inks are much more environmentally-friendly than solvent-based inks.
We recently reduced our carbon footprint by switching to a 19% lighter weight bottle for the Conservancy, Reserve, and Heritage tiers, allowing an increase in cases per truckload, resulting in reduced energy costs.
Capsules and Corks
Concannon Vineyard uses natural corks, which are 100% recyclable, sustainable and renewable. Used in combination with natural cork, stelvin closures, synthetic corks and tin capsules are also 100% recyclable.