Wine with a Heart – Swapping Passion Fruit Flavours for Passion for the Environment

A Story of Supplier Excellence in Social Responsibility

By Caihlin Durkin, National Accounts at Trinchero Family Estates & Georgia Hulbert, New York University Hospitality Student

The story of the Trinchero Family Estates is one of the American Dream. In 1948, Italian immigrant Mario Trinchero brought his young family from New York City to Napa Valley and purchased an abandoned Prohibition-era winery called Sutter Home in St. Helena, Trinchero. Their 75-year commitment and enduring passion for the land, community, and world-class wine made Trinchero Family Estates an international industry leader, acclaiming more than 50 alcohol brands and a presence across 50 countries.

IACC Venue Tip: Identifying the amount and types of by-product generated through your venue operations can allow you to find alternative solutions that better support a zero-waste future.

At the heart of their commitments is sustainability. By prioritising sustainable practices in all aspects of business, Trinchero Family Estates has seen global recognition and third-party programming certification for producing organic and biodynamic grapes and enhancing their surrounding communities by implementing environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable winegrowing practices. Once a small family business, Trinchero now plays a vital role in preserving over 10,000 acres of vineyards for the next generation and setting an example for the wine industry at large.

Thousands of acres across California have been awarded the Lodi Rules, Napa Green Winery, and Sustainability-in-Practice (SIP) certification for Trinchero’s commitment to more than 120 sustainable farming practices – addressing habitat, water, energy, soil, recycling, air quality, pest management, and environmentally conscious packaging solutions. Trinchero employees uphold the family’s commitments by finding innovative solutions and actively making strides in their soil-to-bottle operations.

Here are some of the ways that they reduce their impact close to home:

Trinchero understands the importance of maintaining biodiversity and has taken steps towards controlling pest populations without chemical fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, and traps. On their vineyards, Trinchero converts more than 20,000 tons of grape skins, seeds, and stems into compost each year. They also track all plant and animal species seen in and around the properties through a catalogue, leading to the introduction of owl boxes and Indian Runner ducks in Australia to keep snail and rodent populations in check. In 2010, founders Bob and Evalyn Trinchero donated nearly 3,640 acres to land conservancies which went a long way toward improving habitat health for wildlife species like black bears, deer and mountain lions. However, since prioritising efficient irrigation and reducing potentially harmful inputs, the family business has improved local water quality, which has restored salmon and trout habitats. Trinchero Family Estates were awarded the Fish Friendly Farming Certificate for their comprehensive approach to environmentally friendly land management.

IACC Venue Tip: Work with vendors that try to minimise their environmental impact and collaborate to find ways to reuse materials whenever necessary. For example, Trinchero reuses pallets, drums, and shipping boxes with their suppliers.

Trinchero Family Estates has also made waste reduction a part of the company-wide mission, recycling more than 2,000 tons of material — including glass, plastic and paper — each year. They carefully track waste and diversion at each facility, additionally hiring a sustainability coordinator to guide the company in their efforts towards zero waste. A critical aspect of Trinchero’s success is communicating with suppliers about their sustainability commitments and ensuring they will take back and reuse pallets, drums, shipping boxes and packaging. They’ve also identified vendors who recycle industry-specific waste like corks, capsules and containers.

IACC Venue Tip: Evaluate the packaging of your products and the materials you are regularly using. Can you minimise weight and maximise recycled content? Could paper copies become digital?

As a result, Trinchero pioneered the transition to lighter weight wine bottles. Lightweight glass has a ripple effect as it takes less material and energy to produce, less weight to ship, reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Trinchero has also been a leader in experimenting with other eco-friendly packaging solutions. Bandit wines and a selection of Sutter Home wines are now boxed in environmentally friendly Tetra Pak® packaging made primarily from paper, a renewable resource. In 100% reusable kegs Trinity Oaks uses plant-based capsules made from EarthFirst® PLA Film, a sustainable alternative that is certified compostable. Reusable kegs are used for containing Joel Gott, Pomelo Sauvignon, Three Pears, and SEAGLASS wines. Del Mar Wine Seltzers and Bandit Wine Seltzers are also packaged in infinitely recyclable aluminium cans, meaning they can be recycled again and again – keeping more containers out of the landfill.

Trinchero Tasting & Dining Room, Napa Valley

The three-generational commitment to preserving the land and protecting local communities explain why the Trinchero Family Estates legacy spans wider than delivering world-class wine. Finding innovative solutions and working with like-minded global partners positioned this once small family-owned vineyard as a worldwide leader in creating environmental awareness and sustainable operations at large.

IACC Venue Tip: Keep in mind that some waste materials in one area can be an asset in another. For example, leftover food could be composted or boxed for those in need.

Visit IACC’s latest COVID-19 recovery resources page here for extensive information related to returning to live meetings and conferences.

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