Carneros, CA – Domaine Carneros, the first and only sparkling winery in the United States with all estate vineyards certified organic (California Certified Organic Farmers, CCOF), recently researched that its longtime environmentally-friendly wine-making practices are vegan-friendly as well. Domaine Carneros’ commitment to sustainability extends beyond the wine making process and to the company’s overall operations. The winery at Domaine Carneros is home to what was, upon installation in 2003, the largest photovoltaic solar collection system on any winery in the world.
“Our first commitment is to produce the best wines. We’ve always taken an active role to preserve the health of the land, and today we are excited that people who are as committed to preserving environmental health as we are can share in our bounty,” explains Domaine Carneros CEO and Founding Winemaker, Eileen Crane. Crane led the winery to eco-friendly standards almost twenty years ago although formal organic certification did not occur until 2008.
Today’s announcement is yet another example of Domaine Carneros’ sensitivity to environmental and ecological issues. Rémuage is the step in the sparkling wine-making process that prepares the wine to be clarified after it has undergone the second fermentation that gives sparkling wine its characteristic bubbles. Byproducts of the second fermentation include spent yeasts and sediment; typically, a fining agent such as egg white or isinglass (an extract of sturgeon bladders) is added to the wine to precipitate movement of these particles down the neck of the inverted bottles so they can be easily released during the next step, dégorgement. Although the fining agent is later removed, trace quantities may remain. At Domaine Carneros, the fining agent used in the rémuage process is Clarifiant S, sodium bentonite, a clay-based product with no animal additives. Clarifiant S is a gentle, vegan-friendly product that produces clear wines that meet the exacting winemaking standards of Domaine Carneros.
As the wine-making process demands precise climate control, most wineries in sunny California rely on expensive air conditioning that consumes large volumes of electricity. In 2003, Domaine Carneros took a different approach. The winery partially buried its buildings in the earth, insulated them heavily, and designed them with passive night-time cooling systems. This combination allows the winery to maintain lower temperatures – naturally. From natural cooling to generating an average of 48,000 kilowatts of renewable electricity on-site with one of the largest solar installations in the wine business, Domaine Carneros’ commitment to the environment is clear.
As the first major winery to go solar, Domaine Carneros became the de facto representative of the solar power movement and began to run seminars for its winery neighbors about the conversion process.
About Domaine Carneros
Domaine Carneros is a boutique, family-owned winery founded by Champagne Taittinger in 1987. The winery handcrafts sparkling and still wines of extraordinary quality: a super-premium vintage Brut, a luxury Blanc de Blancs called Le Rêve, a Brut Rosé called Cuvée de la Pompadour and the Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir. Domaine Carneros is located in the picturesque Carneros AVA, the first American appellation to be defined according to microclimate rather than along political lines. Carneros shares a portion of both Sonoma and Napa Counties at their southern ends. The Carneros region is best known for its cool climate and maritime influences, making it the perfect terroir to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two of the essential varietals in the award-winning sparkling wines from Domaine Carneros. Domaine Carneros is the first and only American sparkling wine producer with 100% certified organic estate vineyards.
Domaine Carneros is open daily from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm and is located at 1240 Duhig Road (off Highway 121), four miles southwest of Napa and six miles southeast of Sonoma. Visit www.domainecarneros.com for more information.