2015 was a challenging year for growing grapes and making wine in California. We experienced major climate-driven events from rising global temperatures to the continuation of the four year drought that has gripped the state. Nearly every growing stage of the grapevine occurred sooner, leading to a record-breaking early harvest.
Despite these conditions, grape quality was markedly high in our 2015 crop, and our winemaking team is excited about the quality of the 2015 vintage wines. Even with the scarcity of resources in the way of water availability, our cellar teams were still able to devise creative ways to turn the drought into an opportunity for innovation.
2015 truly highlighted the exceptional pursuit of winemaking innovation led by all of the teams responsible for producing the high quality Kendall-Jackson wines our customers have come to expect from each vintage. With exciting projects ahead of us in 2016, here are some of the highlights we accomplished last year:
- We announced our collaboration with Tesla Energy as one of the first wine industry collaborators and largest user of their stationary energy storage technology with 4.2 MW of capacity installed across 6 of our wineries in Sonoma, Napa, and Monterey Counties
- We installed 4.3MW of Solar Photovoltaic solar systems on our Wineries, offsetting over 40% of our annual electricity consumption with clean, renewable energy
- We purchased 41k mWh of Renewable Energy Certificates to offset 100% of our companywide operations electricity usage and another 30% on behalf of all of our employees’ home usage
- Kendall-Jackson was named the Environmental Leader’s 2015 Project of the Year for our automated barrel wash water recycling unit developed by our K-J Monterey Winery Team
- We were the first winery in the industry to deploy a waterless UV sanitation technology called BlueMorph and a microfog tank sanitation technology called Aurratech. These two new technologies have the capability to help us save 1.5 million gallons of water each year when fully deployed!
- In partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), California Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and Trout Unlimited, we participated in a Voluntary Drought Initiative to release 7.2 acre-feet of water from one of our vineyard reservoirs into Green Valley Creek in support of Coho salmon habitat. To help our rural neighbors participate in this conservation initiative, we also donated $40k to Trout Unlimited’s Flows for Fish Program which places storage tanks along key Russian River watershed tributaries to reduce the reliance on pumping water.
As a result of our efforts to conserve water resources in our wineries, we reduced our total companywide water use by 17% in 2015 from 2014. These accomplishments have paved the way for our 2016 projects, and we already have our sleeves rolled up and some great projects in the hopper. Stay tuned throughout the year to stay up to date on our journey towards a more sustainable future for generations to come.