Green and Environmentally Friendly Practices at Pipestone Vineyards

We utilize solar power, practice a Zero Landfill Policy, we are a Certified Wildlife Habitat, compost and use a Draft Horse team to plow and till the soil. You can read more about our sustainable farming practices on the Vineyard page including: incorporating cover crops, organic means of pest control and fertilization.

Wildlife certified sign
Pipestone Vineyards sign for Certified Wildlife Habitat
  • Certified Wildlife Habitat: Pipestone Vineyards is Certified as friendly wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. We farm to be gentle on local native animal and plant species by considering their life cycles in the timing of our various farming activities.

    We’ve planted food sources in and around the vineyards and orchard such as native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, and nectar; and we make sure we leave some for the animals. We’ve provided water sources for birds, deer, and other animals that are friendly and safe for them.

    Jeff has built brush and rock piles for wildlife habitat, as well as nesting boxes and nesting habitat (dense shrubs, windrows) suitable for native animals. We’ve also chosen to only fence our vineyard and to leave the rest of our property fully accessible as wildlife corridors and habitat (the fence really only keeps the deer out of the vineyard).

    Much of our farming is done to provide habitat for beneficial and predatory insects. And above all, we do not spray pesticides that are harmful to birds, fish, other animals, or ourselves!

    In the vineyard we’ve seen so much wildlife that it’s almost un-countable, but here’s a partial list: coyotes, bobcats, and yes a mountain lion, gophers (darn ‘em) squirrels, rabbits, voles, mice, wood rats, a badger (!), raccoons, fox, opossum, turkeys, hawks, kestrels, owls, bats, an eagle, and many, many song birds, deer (we chase them out), lizards, snakes (yes, even rattle snakes), frogs, toads, and turtles.

  • 2008 Central Coast Viticulture Green Award winner in recognition of our sustainable and green practices.

  • Jeff serves as Vice-President on the board of the local Resource Conservation District. The district promotes soil, water, and resource conservation and provides low cost engineering services to farmers.

  • Zero Landfill Policy: Here at Pipestone, we send nothing to the landfill from our vineyard, farming, or household! We are striving to be zero landfill in the winery too, but have been unable to persuade some of our suppliers to stop using complex plastics in their packaging and shipping materials. We recycle and reuse almost everything!

    We will accept back any packaging that we send out to you in a wine club or mail order shipment. In fact, if you return the Styrofoam shipping container and cardboard box, we’ll send you a $5.00 certificate off for your next purchase! We can re-use them and hate the idea of them going into a landfill somewhere.

View of buildings and vineyard
View of our vineyard, tasting room and home
Compost in the garden area
Compost brewing in our garden area
  • Composting: Of course all of our winery grape “wastes” are composted and reused in the vineyard and garden! We catch the tank bottoms and barrel sediment, pomace (grape skins, seeds, stems), and rinse water and compost them on site. It’s made for some great gardening soil; so much so that we wish we had even more to apply to the vineyard!

    Almost nothing goes to our on-site septic system, but the little water that does, gets digested and purified and returned directly to the soil and aquifer under Pipestone Vineyards. Nothing leaves the site!

    The grape compost is mixed with horse manure for a fantastic organic material. The grape material adds acidity, bulk, micro nutrients, and minerals to the mix; the horse manure (50 lbs. a day by-the-way) adds fiber, nitrogen, and good bacteria.

    We manage the compost by mixing it and turning it once every two months or as needed. The pile gets hot and kills any weed seeds. Within a few months, the compost is back, earthy, fluffy, and ready to be applied to the garden or back into the vineyard!

  • We are Solar Powered!: In 2008, we installed a 7.4 Kw photovoltaic solar system to supply power to the winery for cooling and to the vineyard for pumping irrigation water. Most years, ALL of our power will be supplied by this system!

    If you’ve never seen it, you’ve got to come and watch our meter run backwards! In addition to eliminating all the pollution created by generating power at the power plant, we are reducing our carbon footprint by about 1000 lbs per month!

    Okay, here’s where it really gets interesting. Because we also farm with a team of draft horses, we are really solar powered. The horses eat hay, which is the ultimate in solar fuel. The sun grows the hay and the hay directly powers our vineyard work!

Solar panels at Pipestone Vineyards
Solar panels mounted on the roof overlooking the vineyard