Integrated Environmental Thinking
At Native Flora, environmentalism really comes down to thinking holistically. Our farm is a living organism. We think about its health just like we think about our own health. Left undisturbed, it would return to its natural ecostasis, successfully supporting whatever level of plant and animal life is optimal. But our farm isn’t undisturbed; we have commandeered its biological machinery to support ourselves and our winemaking objectives. Fortunately for our farm, we know that what’s good for it, is good for us.
We know that biodiversity is critical for healthy ecosystems. It supports natural predators in the animal, insect and microbial worlds. We don’t use insecticides, pesticides or herbicides in our vineyards as a result. We do maintain forests, woodlands, ponds, weeds, about a gazillion ladybugs, and a few fat frogs.
Most of our vineyard mowing is done by our sheep. They are the ultimate in all terrain, self-propelled, mobile composters – they derive their energy from the cover crops that enrich our soils, fertilize the vines as they work, provide us wool, and untold entertainment for our guests.
We planted 6000′ of geothermal piping before and beneath the Tuition Blocks; the system provides the heat and cooling capacity for our multi-functional facility, and most of its components. We are able to utilize heat as a commodity within our complex, allowing us to “steal” heat from overly warm ferments and move it to our living space, or warm one barrel room during M-L fermentation while cold stabilizing the Pinot Blanc. A tour of the mechanical systems is a must for any environmental/technogeek.
Our building, with over 10,000 square feet of roof surface, delivers rainwater to filtration planters. The planters purify the water before it is stored in tanks, pools and ponds to be used during the summer in our drip irrigation lines, if needed. Our goal is to never use a gallon of aquifer water on any of our grounds. The roof lines themselves are designed to optimize solar gain; when our electricity usage is fully understood we intend to install enough solar panels to offset our consumption.
We moved 750 truckloads of dirt and rock to burrow our winery level into the hillside, taking advantage of the earth’s natural cool, consistent temperatures. Coupled with our geothermal systems and ongoing optimization, we continue to reduce our carbon footprint. From a human standpoint, our below grade winery offers views and natural light through five glass-filled roll-up doors.