Sustainability In Practice
In keeping with Jack Niven’s pioneering spirit and sustainable farming vision, we are proud to be one of the first ten Central Coast vineyards to become SIP™ Certified in 2008. As second and third generations, we are committed to remaining innovative and responsible.
Irrigation amounts are based on calculated evapotranspiration in order to ensure delivery of a precise amount of water to the vines. Soil moisture sensors near the root system prevent overwatering.
Energy Conservation and Efficiency
In order to reduce time, use of fuel, and compaction of the soil, two tasks are performed by tractor equipment in each pass.
Rodent Pest Management
Raptor boxes are placed throughout the vineyard to encourage owls and hawks to take up residence and hunt for rodents.
Insect and Mite Pest Management
Use of Category 1 pesticides has been eliminated, helping to increase the natural enemy population, balancing the pests in the vineyard. Additionally, natural predators are sometimes introduced to combat specific problem pests, i.e. parasitic wasps for mealybugs.
Vines are properly spaced in order to keep them in balance, delivering quality fruit while optimizing yields. Trellis design is carefully chosen to allow for an increase in mechanization and efficiency, leading to a properly maintained canopy microclimate that optimizes sunlight exposure while reducing disease and insect pressure.
Cover crop is planted throughout the vineyard to prevent off-site movement of soil through erosion, adding to biodiversity. Roadways are also planted with a ground cover for dust abatement and to reduce erosion. Vine nutrition is carefully managed with a nutrient budget which minimizes fertilizer inputs to precisely deliver what the vines need to grow quality fruit.
A herd of goats is rotated throughout the property to manage vegetation in areas not planted to vine, such as our creekbed. After harvest they are let into the vineyard to eat the weeds under the vines.
Our estate Paragon Vineyard and its Firepeak blocks have earned the Sustainability in Practice™ (SIP™) Vineyard Certification. Farmed by our Pacific Vineyard Company, we have owned these vineyards since Jack Niven, the wine grape planting pioneer of the Niven family, began planting them in 1973. Certification of these vineyards proves our collective commitment to environmental stewardship, economic viability, and equitable treatment of employees. A project of the Central Coast Vineyard Team, SIP ™ provides a comprehensive and verifiable method to authenticate a vineyard’s attention to integrated farming practices. Our estate wines, beginning with the 2008 vintage, will carry the official seal of certification.
George Donati, President of Pacific Vineyard Company, and his team have been working closely with the Central Coast Vineyard Team for years, helping to write and perfect the standards that eventually became the certification program. We have historically farmed in a careful and responsible manner that takes into account all facets of the world around us, and would continue to do so whether or not this certification program was developed. Even though, we were honored to participate in the pilot program, and are immensely proud to be amongst the first ten vineyards to earn the certification. We were presented with a robust and comprehensive set of standards. Areas addressed included biodiversity, social equity, community involvement, energy efficiency, pest management, air quality, water quality and conservation, and practices that reduce risk.
Once we proved we met the standards, we were audited by an independent, third-party inspector. The Certification was granted by an independent advisory board, based on the recommendation and reporting of the inspector.
Our work continues, as we plan to continually earn the SIP™ certification for each vintage in the future.
For more, visit: www.sipthegoodlife.org