Sustainable wine-grape growing is a natural extension of our family's history. For many years we have engaged in forestry, agriculture and conservation. Creating and maintaining a meaningful partnership with the land and the communities in which we operate is central to our philosophy.
Our agricultural and forestry operations in Louisiana have been widely recognized for preserving and enhancing critical habitat for the endangered Louisiana Black Bear. In 2004, our family received the prestigious National Wetland Conservation Award for the restoration and preservation of wetland environments from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Farming practices in our Santa Maria Valley vineyards are certified sustainable according to our region's stringent "Sustainability in Practice" (SIP) guidelines. Within the vineyard, we plant nitrogen-fixing and flowering cover crops such as triticale, vetch and pea. Naturally occurring clover is encouraged and wildflowers are planted to attract beneficial insect predators. We use no herbicides. Drainage ways minimize erosion and our water and fertilizer applications are as efficient as possible in terms of volume, method of application, time of day, and length of set.
We have preserved critical habitats of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, owls, bats, red-tailed hawks, falcons and other natural predators including lacewings, beetles, ladybugs and spider-mites that feed on aphids, thrips and mites.
Beyond habitat conservation and natural pest management, "SIP" certification encompasses a host of criteria including the practice of social awareness and engagement – causes we have championed for years by, among other things, providing needs-based college and vocational scholarships and encouraging our staff to volunteer with the charities of their choice.
While many of these choices may not maximize the health of our bottom line, they do promote the health of the environment, vineyard, our employees and society in ways that are intangible on a spreadsheet.