We try not to make a big deal about supporting worthy causes. We have often made donations to various causes important to our employees and customers. Some you will see, some you will not. So, as a family business, we have made the decision to focus on several areas that I will discuss in future newsletters. I'll start to address them here.
(1) Kids with Cancer
We feel that pooling our donations to larger causes will help those causes achieve their missions. One way we have done this for years is to submit wines to various wine competitions. Over the last 2 years however, several have ceased operation. For worthy causes, even when we don't win a medal, the cause wins via our entry fees. Hard to beat the economics of that.
One of our favorite and most respected wine competitions however is the Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition. As many of you are aware, we have many medals from this contest over the past few years. This competition also helps to send kids with terrible diseases to summer camp - allowing them to focus on something other than their hospital visits.
As a veteran who has made the transition to civilian life much more successfully than many of my brothers and sisters in arms, I feel the need to help other veterans become successful. Too many see suicide as the way out. I believe that having long term goals and a plan that shows a brighter future is important to self worth. I hope to teach other veterans how to farm more of what I need - local grapes!
Food security is part of national security. Right now, many of us believe we are at a tipping point. Local food is one insurance we can influence. I want to employ veterans on my farm and teach them to farm themselves. I see a long term view for local food to more like it is in other parts of the world. Veterans can continue to contribute to national security by ensuring food security.
We have been growing sustainable grapes since long before we started the winery. We have only once added chemical sprays to our grapes, but removed grapes that require it last spring. We focus on varieties that will survive with minimal chemical intervention. Hybrid grape breeding programs are turning out some wonderful weather tolerant varieties that has already started to help define our wine region. We also focus on hand leaf removal to ensure the grapes get enough sunlight and wind.
We recycle. We make it easy for you to recycle. Glass, paper, and aluminum caps of our bottles go into a single stream. Recyclers turn the glass into new bottles here in the USA and capture the aluminum within the process. So, put the cap back on and recycle the whole bottle when you empty one!
As someone who has seen what I call the "Pinot Noir Line" march consistently north over the last 30 years, climate change in undeniable. When I grew up in PA, only native American and a few hybrid grapes grew there. Now cool weather vinifera grapes such as Pinot Noir are growing successfully in PA. Contributing less to the rise in temperatures is one of our goals.
Our larger plan is to have the winery be LEED certified. Among other things, this means the building will consume less power than a typical building does. We plan to have solar power and generate more than we need. This is more expensive up front, but in the long term less expensive to operate.