Being a responsible steward of natural resources is a key practice in Cooper-Garrod farming and winemaking methods. With roots going back over 125 years, the Cooper and Garrod families strive to maintain a healthy and sustainable environment for themselves, employees, neighbors, and visitors. As a family-owned and operated business, we are especially vested in the sustainability of our winery and vineyards, with the goal of a continuing legacy for succeeding generations. To achieve this, all our vineyards are CCOF certified organic, and our approach to sustainability is guided by the Principles of Sustainable Winegrowing published by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Solar Panels: Installed on top of the riding arena in 2005, our initial solar array provided 17 kW of power and was the second winery installation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 2019, we quadrupled our solar power generation capacity to 77 kW (90+% of total usage) and added battery backup to ensure business continuity during power outages.
Lighting: All LED.
Soil Management: Erosion control is a major concern with our hillside vineyards, so we mow rather than disk the dirt. Mowing 2-3 times a year costs more, but the downstream benefits are worth it. Lees, pomace and landscape clippings are composted organically, then returned to the vineyard.
Water Management: 29 inches of average annual rain means we dry farm, i.e., no irrigation needed. Recent drought or near-drought years, however, have prompted us to renovate the drip systems we installed for vineyard establishment or to install new ones where they didn’t exist.
Integrated Pest Management: Birds are essential to our organic and sustainable viticulture by reducing the insect and rodent populations without the use of chemicals. To support this, we have bluebird and owl boxes around the property, raptor roosts in vineyards, and oak trees throughout for roosting and hunting perches.
Wildlife Corridors: We are surrounded by open space and, therefore, share our hillsides with native predators who have always lived here. Wildlife corridors allow bobcats and coyotes to stalk pesky vermin in our vineyards. Just like with the birds, we want to facilitate a symbiotic partnership.
Stems and Pomace (skins and seeds – what’s left after pressing): Composted organically onsite with stables material and available for home use.
Water: We transitioned from cleaning barrels with water spray jets to using a steam machine, thus reducing our consumption significantly. Also, we added an energy saver dishwasher that cleans 25 tasting glasses at a time effectively and efficiently with appreciable water savings.
Oak Barrels: Our wines age in natural oak barrels that are sourced from highly-regulated French oak forests, consistently replanted for sustainable growth and harvesting.
Bottling: Our major production activity imports about 14 tons of material (light-weight bottles, cardboard cases, natural corks, tin capsules, and labels). After bottling, there are about 150 pounds of recycled material (plastic, cardboard, wood pallets) and less than 5 pounds of waste.
Glass: All of our glass (bottles and broken stemware) is recycled.
Cardboard: Our case boxes, shipping containers, and inserts use recycled materials. We recycle all the cardboard and paper waste generated in our day-to-day operations.
Corks: All natural from Portugal. We save the corks for school and personal arts and crafts projects. If you’d like some, just ask–they’re free! Put your used corks in lawn waste for composting.
Capsules: Ours are tin and use water-based inks to eliminate acids in the manufacturing process. We remove the capsule before recycling the bottle, sell the tin to a recycler, and add the cash to the employee program fund.
Compost: All of our manure, bedding, shavings, vine prunings, and grape lees are composted on the property, and when needed, put back into our vineyards. It is also available for local members of our community to pick up and use in their own gardens.