Sunshine for Solar Panels and Vineyards
by Jenny Kim -- March 12th, 2012
After visiting a wind farm in Birds Landing, we ventured to Napa Valley for an eco-winery tour of Frog’s Leap Winery. We were warmly greeted by John Williams, Frog’s Leap owner and winemaker, who told us the story behind his 130 acre off-grid, organic vineyard.
It was established in the early 1990s when Californian wine was starting to gain popularity and recognition. Williams approached viticulture from a sustainable point of view, promoting organic farming and incorporating dry-farming in his vineyards.
On our tour of Frog’s Leap, we saw a variety of crops, vineyards, a coop of chickens, and a half-acre covered with solar panels. The solar panels produce 450,000 kWh of electricity per year, supplying more than the energy needs of the winery. The excess power is fed into Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) grid.
After seeing and hearing all about organic viticulture, we were excited to finally try the wine. Williams graciously held a wine-tasting for us inside Frog’s Leap’s LEED certified Hospitality Center. We tasted a delicious Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon, all the while basking in the California sun.
Needless to say, we were sad to leave! But we had another long day ahead of us, including visiting a geothermal plant in Middletown, CA. More to come…