Carbon Neutral Winery and Vineyards
For many years, we have been taking steps to reduce our environmental impact. We began by implementing sustainable farming practices, then installed solar power and earned our Fish Friendly Farming® certification. Becoming carbon neutral was the logical next step. By reducing our carbon footprint and carefully purchasing carbon credits, we have lowered our winery and vineyards’ carbon impact to zero, making Rodney Strong Vineyards the first carbon neutral winery in Sonoma
Fish Friendly Farming®
Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) has become a natural extension of our commitment to sustainable farming. From soil conservation to the use of cover crops, we have implemented core FFF practices that help conserve and improve the natural creek banks along permanent and seasonal waterways. Restoration and re-vegetation of creek banks is an essential part of the FFF program, removing invasive non-native species and establishing native plantings that reduce erosion and provide shade for migrating steelhead and salmon.
Solar Power Program
In 2003, we installed solar panels on the roof of our barrel building. After six years in operation, the system produced 5.47 gigawatt hours of electricity, which helped avoid the release of 2,904 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the equivalent of not driving 6,067,304 miles.
System Peak Capacity: 766 kW
Solar Electric Panels: 4,032
PV surface area: 80,000 square feet.
While pursuing our goal of growing the best wine grapes possible, we honor our commitment to be good stewards of our natural resources. This means as we go about our business, we are continually conscious of protecting or even improving the general ecosystem.
Soil conservation includes using the most effective runoff management and erosion control, reducing soil compaction, careful soil analysis to minimize amendments, composting grape pumice to return to the soils as organic matter, minimal tillage and the intelligent use of natural cover crops. These techniques ensure exceptional soils in our vineyards.
We employ drip irrigation to lessen water use in conjunction with advanced metering devices that closely monitor water levels in soils and vines. We take important steps to prevent erosion to keep silt and fertilizers out of the local watershed. Where we farm along creeks, we practice Fish Friendly Farming, which includes removing harmful vegetation and use of native riparian plants.
Intelligent use of natural cover crops greatly reduces dust from vineyard activities. Our vineyard roads are wetted down or treated with environmentally safe wetting agents. We have completely eliminated the burning the winter prunings, chipping the canes instead. We minimize tillage to reduce our use of fossil fuels.
We have minimized adverse effects to threatened or endangered plant and wildlife species, leaving sensitive areas undeveloped. We have built deer corridors to provide natural movement for wildlife to waterways. Walk the vineyards and you’ll spot bluebird and owl nesting boxes to encourage natural pest management. And large areas of our properties are left as green open space.
Economic Feasibility and Social Equity
Farming practices in our vineyards must make economic sense. Fortunately, many excellent conservation methods, when applied successfully, can decrease input while enhancing sustainability. Long-term viability is key. In pursuit of social equity, we consider our neighbors in all vineyard practices. Our farming practices create jobs and support local businesses. And our seasonal and full-time vineyard workers are provided housing.