Boisset Family Estates says its California wineries, Raymond Vineyards and DeLoach Vineyards, will be 100 percent solar powered with the completion of solar installations this summer; and Raymond Vineyard’s Napa Valley estate vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena became certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers and certified biodynamic by Demeter USA.
Adherence to organic and biodynamic farming practices is a hallmark of Boisset properties worldwide, and Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Raymond Vineyards, began implementing organic and biodynamic farming practices soon after purchasing the winery in August 2009.
At Raymond, in accordance with the Demeter Biodynamic Farm Standard, the winery set aside 10 percent of its estate to biodiversity, which includes the Raymond Theater of Nature, a comprehensive, interactive tour of biodynamic farming that leads guests through fives acts — soil, plants, animals, the vineyardist and wholeness — that elucidates Raymond’s philosophy of sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming practices through exhibits, seminars and a self-guided audio tour available on mobile phones at TheaterofNature.com.
Boisset Family Estates began installing solar systems at DeLoach Vineyards and Raymond Vineyards last winter; Raymond’s installation will be complete in time for it to host the Napa Valley Vintner’s Friday Napa Valley Barrel Auction as part of this year’s Auction Napa Valley. By this summer, both wineries will receive 100 percent of their power from the solar panels.
Boisset said, “The evolution of our California wineries to 100 percent renewable energy extends a long-held family commitment to stewardship of our lands and our irreplaceable terroir. We farm not for this generation, but for the generations to follow. We listen to the rhythms of nature in pursuit of authentic wines that respect the living life of the vineyards, now and for the future.”
Raymond Vineyards will become the largest 100 percent solar powered winery in Napa, according to utility provider Blue Sky Utility. Blue Sky Utility, along with BPi as contractor, designed, constructed and maintains Raymond’s solar energy system, which includes more than 50,000 square feet of panels on the winery’s roofs and a 17,000- square-foot solar canopy, which also helps reduce energy by providing a covered, shaded area that will be used during harvest and to store fermentation tanks, reducing the amount of energy required to control their temperature.
It will generate more than 1 million kilowatt-hours per year, offsetting 758 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, the equivalent of planting 3,790 new trees. The solar system at DeLoach will produce more than 300,000 kilowatt-hours/year, offsetting 100 percent of its electrical usage and eliminating 232 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, the equivalent of planting 1,162 trees.
In total, Boisset’s solar panels are expected to produce more than 1.3 million kilowatt-hours/year, offsetting 990 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Both wineries, as well as Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, will also have electric vehicle charging stations for guests arriving to the winery in their electric cars.
The Boisset family was an early leader in embracing biodynamic methods when it began farming according to biodynamic principles in Burgundy in 1994.
Today, Domaine de la Vougeraie, the family’s estate uniting a collection of prestigious, historical vineyards in Burgundy, is the leading organic and biodynamic domaine in the Cote d’Or with more than 95 acres under cultivation.
The biodynamic insight, promulgated by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century, is that a farm or garden lies between the cosmos above and the earth below, and is heavily influenced by both. Planting is therefore done by calendar and moon phases. The garden or farm is conceived as a whole, single, living organism of plants and animals that can be brought into self-regulating balance with as few outside inputs as possible.