Sustainability: A Core Value
J. Lohr’s commitment to sustainability is a core value of our family-run winery. These environmental tenets extend to every facet of the business. J. Lohr believes that there is a direct relationship between stewardship, conservation, and wine quality.
In January 2010, J. Lohr became one of the first 17 vineyards and wineries in California to earn the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing distinction from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. This important certification was the culmination of a groundbreaking statewide program to establish criteria for demonstrating continuous improvement in sustainable practices. This certification covers all of J. Lohr’s estate vineyards, as well as our Paso Robles, San Jose and Greenfield wineries.
J. Lohr believes that a comprehensive, responsible approach to growing grapes and producing wines can be defined by the three “E’s” of sustainability: Environmentally Sound, Socially Equitable, and Economically Feasible.
J. Lohr prepares our estate vineyards using mineral-based amendments such as limestone, marble white, and composted pomace from previous vintages, years before planting new vines and throughout the life cycle of the vineyard. Composting pomace materials, as well as chipping of removed vines and prunings, versus burning the vines, also help to fortify the land.
Continual monitoring of water status in vines and soil through weather data and evapotranspiration assessment via pressure bombs and surface renewal technology help calibrate water needs and schedule deficit and drip irrigation. Once vines are planted, permanent cover crops limit carbon dioxide emissions and weed growth, preserve soil integrity, enhance soil health, and prevent erosion.
Owl boxes on J. Lohr’s satellite ranches help mitigate vertebrate pests, while the home ranch has a substantial number of oak trees, which are a natural habitat for birds of prey. Weather data and degree-day calculations are used to minimize the use of pest-related sprays, as are minimizing soil tillage, regular leaf removal, maintaining vine vigor, and controlling vehicle speed to reduce pest-enhancing dust. Vineyard employees are trained to keep detailed records of pest life cycles, which impact economic decisions in the vineyard while allowing beneficial weeds and insects to thrive.
A comprehensive water conservation program is in place to cut water usage and optimize the use of waste water to improve system performance. J. Lohr’s approach to water conservation also ties water usage to land, through state-of-the-art practices including stress-inducing deficit irrigation, and benchmarking aquifer usage.
J. Lohr believes clean, renewable energy is critical to sustainability and is essential for preserving the environment. We are constantly investing in energy-efficient technologies. J. Lohr installed a 756 KW solar (photovoltaic) tracking system in Paso Robles that came on-line in 2008; it currently supplies 65% of our electrical needs. In Greenfield, Monterey County, we have just finished installing a 920.7 KW flat mount system at the new winery. It will cover almost 100% of our energy needs there.
Packaging and Recycling:
J. Lohr recycles packaging materials including bottles, cans, plastic, shrink-wrap, paper and cardboard, in addition to production and operational materials including batteries, light bulbs, tires, cork, wood pallets and wood packaging. J. Lohr also encourages more environmentally favorable inks and packaging processes, which reduce the number of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released into the atmosphere.
Social equity and responsibility — and respect for employees, suppliers and customers — are among two of J. Lohr’s core values. J. Lohr provides long-term employment and year-round health benefits to vineyard staff and their families. In 2013, an employee garden began to thrive in Paso Robles. Employee achievements and happenings are lauded in a bi-monthly newsletter.
J. Lohr is committed to supporting numerous worthy organizations, with a focus on the health and well-being of children and families, wine research and education, and the arts. In 2013, J. Lohr was named by non-profit Hope Services as the Corporate Partner of the Year. J. Lohr also has an extensive partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and has funded patient navigation services and over 6,500 mammograms for women who would otherwise be unable to afford them.
Sustainability and leadership: J. Lohr’s culture is one of knowledge-sharing and industry leadership. In January of 2010, J. Lohr was among the first vineyards and wineries in California to earn the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) designation from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).
J. Lohr has continued to earn this annual certification for the sustainable practices adopted in its estate vineyards in the Paso Robles, Arroyo Seco and St. Helena AVAs, as well as for its three wineries located in Paso Robles, San Jose and Greenfield. CCSW certification is achieved by meeting a set of 191 best practices and 58 prerequisites from the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook, which are then verified by an independent third-party auditor.
Senior individuals with J. Lohr’s management team have chaired, have served, or are currently serving on the boards of the CSWA and Vineyard Team, which has its Sustainability in Practice (SIP) program.