Winery earns Certified B designation
Clif Family Winery & Farm, a St. Helena-based maker of organic wines and specialty foods, announced that it has earned the prestigious Certified B Corporation designation. The recognition puts the company in an elite group of wine industry players that have achieved the level of certification, which emphasizes a commitment to high levels of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Since its founding by husband-and-wife team Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford in 2004, the winery stated in a release that it has focused on sustainable practices that support their people, planet, and community. The company's efforts to achieve the B Corp Certification included all actively managed agricultural lands being CCOF certified organic, which requires that lands be managed without the use of synthetic fertilizers or toxic, persistent pesticides.
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All vineyards are also certified as Napa Green Vineyards, the first sustainable winegrowing certification to focus specifically on climate action, regenerative farming, and social equity. Additionally, all facilities and vineyards run on 100% renewable electricity sourced through the MCE Deep Green renewables program or generated by on-site solar panels. The company's shipping and packaging supplies are also reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
B Corp Certification recognizes companies that prioritize their operations' impact on their employees, customers, communities, and the environment. Clif Family Winery & Farm's attainment of the certification supports its long-standing commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
"This certification acknowledges the hard work that our team does each and every day to be better stewards of the earth," said Linzi Gay, President of Clif Family Winery & Farm. "We are excited to join the B Corp community of changemakers working to create a better planet for our children and future generations."
To achieve B Corp certification, Clif Family Winery & Farm underwent a rigorous assessment of its social and environmental impact, including its governance structure, environmental practices, community engagement, and labor practices. The assessment was conducted by B Lab, a non-profit organization that certifies B Corporations and provides tools and support for ongoing improvement. Companies must achieve an overall score of at least 80 points. Clif Family Winery & Farm received a score of 93.7 on the B Impact Assessment, while the typical median score for an average business is 50.9.
"We are very proud of our score this year and also excited to start down a pathway of measurable, continuous improvement in our business," said Gay.
Cuvasion renames estate vineyard
Cuvaison, based in the Los Carneros region, has renamed its historic estate vineyard as Tai Vineyard to honor the late Alexander Tai Schmidheiny. For 44 years, Cuvaison has farmed this vineyard, which has become a benchmark for cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the company stated in a release. Starting this year, select 2021 vineyard-designate wines from Cuvaison’s Legacy, Micro Lot, and Small Lot tiers will bear the new name of Tai Vineyard.
The Napa Green-certified Tai Vineyard is situated near the Mayacamas Mountains, with an elevation range from sea level to 250 feet. The 125-acre vineyard is composed of 16 blocks of Chardonnay, 13 blocks of Pinot Noir, and smaller blocks of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Semillon, Syrah, and Grenache.
Cuvaison applies a continuous 20-year replanting cycle at Tai Vineyard to maintain the highest standards of quality through the use of the finest viticultural techniques. The farming is guided by Viticulturist and Vineyard Consultant Kelly Maher, with an emphasis on higher density plantings, modern trellising, and clone and rootstock combinations tailored to the elevation and soil type of each block.
CEO Daniel Zepponi says that Tai Vineyard has been one of the premier vineyards in Los Carneros for over 40 years and that this new name recognizes and celebrates the vineyard’s history, quality, and character, and its importance to the story of Los Carneros. Schmidheiny selected the site for its ideal clay and loam soils, its diverse slopes, elevations, and aspects, and its marine-influenced climate. This climate is characterized by wind and fog from San Pablo Bay, which keeps summer temperatures below 80-degrees, making it an ideal location for cool-climate grape expressions.
Tai Vineyard was one of the first vineyards to gain recognition in Los Carneros, alongside its neighboring sites of Hyde, Hudson, and Red Shoulder Ranch. Kelly Maher describes Tai Vineyard as an extraordinary winegrowing site in one of America’s great regions for cool-climate grapes. The Schmidheiny family, fourth-generation vintners who also own vineyards in Argentina and Switzerland, pioneered the Los Carneros region in the modern winemaking era. In 1983, Los Carneros AVA was established as the first AVA in California based on its climate.
Gentleman Farmer Wines to open guest house in downtown Napa
Gentleman Farmer Wines has recently acquired a historic building in downtown Napa, which will be renovated and opened as the Gentleman Farmer Guest House, according to a company statement.
The building, located at 1580 First Street, was built in the late 1800s and is one of the oldest buildings in Napa. The building will feature five guest rooms, a lounge area, and a kitchen. Each element in the guest house will be intentionally and thoughtfully curated, with many pieces that add character and a healthy dose of dark, well-curated whimsy.
Owners and husbands Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz noticed the frequency with which their wine club members were booking repeat trips to Napa Valley and sending their friends to experience their thoughtfully prepared lunches, high-quality wines, and above-and-beyond hospitality. Realizing no one else was doing anything quite like it, the Gentleman Farmer Guest House was a natural next step.
“We are thrilled to acquire this historic building and soon offer Gentleman Farmer guests a Napa Valley hotel experience that is entirely authentic to us and to the region,” said Durham. “We are committed to preserving the history of Napa while offering a chance to experience our renowned hospitality in a manner that’s more akin to the European winery guest house model. This next step – in such a charmingly reserved property – represents a behind-the-scenes version of Napa Valley which we can’t wait to share with the world.”
Durham and Wolosz offer intricate and homemade lunch tastings, which serve as a means of introduction to their wines. This experience closely mirrors that which will be on offer when they open The Bungalow: A Studio for Gustatory Well Being, a forthcoming restaurant, in the fall of 2023, the release stated. The Gentleman Farmer Guest House will also offer culinary offerings that will be on rotation.
The winery has been producing acclaimed wines since its founding in 2005. Durham and Wolosz both hold degrees in Hotel & Restaurant Management and have experience working in food, wine, travel, and hotels. The couple founded The Redwood Riverwalk, a boutique motel destination in Fortuna, which has since been sold.
Durham remains involved in his hometown community and has sat on the board of state and local hospitality organizations. He served as a member of the Yountville city council, and founded The Yountvillian, which covers community news, information, activities, food, wine, and culture.