Wolff Vineyards was one of the first vineyards to help develop and launch a sustainability certification program in collaboration with the Vineyard Team SIP Certification Program (Sustainability in Practice). The program was established more than ten years ago with only a few hundred certified acres on the Central Coast of California. Today SIP Certification has grown to thousands of acres across the state.
Over the years, we have received recognition and multiple awards for our environmental commitment, including:
- County of San Luis Obispo Green Award
- Air Pollution Control District Green Award
- California Air Resources Control Board Small Business Green Award
- Wine Industry Person of the Year Mid-State Fair
We frequently host tours, field demonstrations and classes for the industry, local colleges and universities.
We apply several techniques aimed at improving water quality and water conservation. We seed beneficial cover crops for erosion control, capture storm water sheet flow from the hills to recharge the aquifer, use the evapotranspiration (ET) model to maximize irrigation efficiency, participate in our county’s ground water management plan and gradually replant the vineyard with drought-resistant rootstock.
We have focused on energy conservation and reduction of carbon emissions for many years primarily in the vineyard, winery and tasting room operation. Our efforts include an extensive recycling program, high-efficiency irrigation pumps with variable speed drives, soil carbon sequestration, LED lighting in all our buildings, lightweight glass wine bottles with recyclable composite corks and a high-efficiency barrel room chiller system with economizer cycle to bring cool outside air in during the night.
Wolff Vineyards is fully engaged in the California Healthy Soil Initiative. We apply organic soil amendments in the form of compost, cover crops for nitrogen fixing and improving biomass, yeoman plow to increase carbon sequestration, organic-based fertilizers such as composted seaweed, low-impact pesticides including canola oil.
WILDLIFE AND NATURAL HABITAT
We have two boundary creeks discharging 4.5 miles away into Pismo Beach. One of our creeks, West Coral de Piedra, is designated a steelhead trout migratory stream. We have participated in a multi-year fish habitat improvement project by collaborating directly with the Natural Resources Conservation Services, California Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries and Central Coast Salmon Enhancement to name a few. Some of the work has included embankment set back with re-vegetation and shading, riparian corridor enhancement, bio-engineering solutions demonstration project and managing the creeks as an unimpeded wildlife corridor.
For vertebrae control we have strategically placed kestrel, barn owl, red-tail hawk boxes and perch along the creeks. We have a healthy population of quail and enjoy the sightings of a diverse range of birds including road runners, golden eagles and migratory ducks.
As part of our integrated pest management program we release beneficial insects to reduce the population of mealybugs, utilize pheromone matting disrupter cards and install Argentine ant traps.
Over the years we have participated in several research projects ranging from Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS), insectaria of California native wildflowers to geophysics soil moisture sensing technology.
Currently we have a research trial utilizing our own designed subsurface precision drip irrigation system delivering irrigation water directly 3 feet below ground in the root zone of deeply planted new vines. This technology has the potential to reduce irrigation water use by up to 50%.
Another project is currently being deployed through a grant from the UC Cooperative Extension Local Farm Advisor. A multi-sensor weather station provides data points accessible on the internet. A dashboard with graphic display includes wind speed, solar radiation, the temperature at 3 feet and 30 feet above ground, evapotranspiration, rain gauge and soil moisture monitoring on a real time basis.