J. LOHR WINS 2020 GREEN MEDAL LEADER AWARD
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has been named the 2020 recipient of the Green Medal Leader Award. The annual California Green Medal Sustainable Winegrowing Awards provide recognition to vineyards and wineries who are standard-bearers in implementing the three “E’s” of sustainability: environment, economic, and social equity.
The Leader Award honors the vineyard or winery that “best demonstrates the ability to balance multiple objectives of environmental, economic, and social goals, excelling in these areas with sustainability being clearly integrated into the overall business.”
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. Read more on the Green Medal Award here.
TEN YEARS OF CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE
An important part of our success over the decades has been the J. Lohr team’s conscientious, ‘farming for the future’ programs. 2020 marks ten years since J. Lohr became one of the very first vineyards and wineries in the state to earn the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing distinction from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA). The certifications process is a rigorous one, involving meeting and complying with 191 best practices and 58 prerequisites from the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook. Compliance with those rules are then investigated and verified by an independent, third-party auditor. J. Lohr has earned CSWA certification every year since the program’s inception, covering all of our estate vineyards, as well as our wineries in Paso Robles, San Jose, and Greenfield.
J. Lohr prepares our estate vineyards using mineral-based amendments such as limestone, marble, and composted pomace from previous vintages – yearsbefore planting new vines and then 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 fine tune water needs and schedule deficit and drip irrigation. Once vines are planted, permanent cover crops limit carbon dioxide emissions and weed growth, 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 wastewater 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 over 84% of our electrical needs. In Greenfield, Monterey County, we have installed a 920.7 KW flat mount system at the new winery. It provides almost 100% of our energy needs there. Energy use is also decreased through the use of high-speed roll-up doors in our Paso Robles barrel rooms, as well as motion-sensitive lighting throughout our production facilities.
BIODIVERSITY AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
We identify sub-biomes and wildlife habitats on our properties, leaving them as undisturbed as possible. We created a pollinator garden to attract more bees. We preserve all oak trees in new vineyard developments, providing wildlife habitat. Songbird boxes are installed to attract native species for biodiversity. We carried out extensive habitat and riverbank restoration on the section of the Napa River that borders our Carol’s Vineyard to combat erosion and protect the watershed’s overall ecosystem.
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.
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. Through community partnering, we support many local and national charities. Our Touching Lives program, in partnership with National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, champions life-saving initiatives. J. Lohr sponsors local Arts groups that enrich our communities, such as TheatreWorks and Cinequest. We provided resources to establish the J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Fermentation Room and the J. Lohr Wine Sensory Lab at UC Davis, as well as the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly SLO, and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering and the Jerome J. Lohr Building at South Dakota State University.
At J. Lohr, our commitment to sustainability and the environment is informed by Founder Jerry Lohr’s seven decades of farming experience. We were early adopters of sustainable practices and helped “write the book” on codifying industry-wide methods and certifications. Today, sustainability is embraced by a passionate second generation of the Lohr family, dedicated to preserving this important aspect of the company’s legacy. Our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable practices is woven into every aspect of our winery’s life.