State water-quality regulators are allowing storage of biodiesel blends up to 20 percent, or B20, in approved, compliant underground fuel tanks through Dec. 1 on an “emergency” basis as they work on permanent rules. The temporary rule went into effect June 1.

The State Water Resources Control Board previously had allowed only blends of 5 percent biodiesel, or B5, in underground tanks because double-walled petroleum tanks and ancillary components made to date haven’t been tested independently for higher-content blends. Also, the board hadn’t developed a biodiesel leak-detection system approval process.

“These issues have contributed to the delay of more widespread use of biodiesel in California,” the board wrote on the

Web site page with the interim rule, posted at www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ust/regulatory/biodiesel_regs.shtml.

To qualify for the interim guidelines, tank owners must submit a notice of intent to their local implementing agency, which in the North Bay are Lake County Environmental Health; Marin County Waste Management; Napa County Environmental Management; Sonoma County Hazardous Materials Department; Solano County; and fire departments in Healdsburg, Petaluma San Rafael and Santa Rosa.

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The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Board, or TTB, on June 2 revised its organic wine labeling policy.

To specify for consumers how much of the wine comes from certified organic grapes versus conventional grapes, the TTB now requires the presence of uncertified grapes to be noted on the label. Four variations of the statement are allowed, with and without percentages and grape variety names.

A percentage of certified-organic content must be noted for wines restricted to the “organic ingredients” labeling provisions. However, a label statement of “Ingredients: 100 percent organic wine” would step over into the all-organic standard, according to the TTB.

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Santa Rosa-based Stevenson Supply Co. was honored earlier this year at a national convention for its efforts in the Canal Quarry project in Richmond. The effort involved 100,000 square feet of materials and 4,000 square feet of turf-reinforcing mats to replace a concrete drainage ditch.

Indiana-based North American Green, which makes erosion- and sediment-control products, honored Stevenson in its 2009 Distributor Case Study Competition. Petaluma-based general engineering contractor North Bay Construction oversaw the project.

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A recently launched wine country business is offering eco-minded travelers the chance to experience luxury with sustainability through specialized tasting excursions.

Dorsey Kindler launched Holme Grown eco-tours last month, branding the niche service after a relative’s historic Imperial Valley produce label. The company provides personally guided Napa Valley tours in bio-diesel-fueled Mercedes. The groups can visit any Napa winery, but guides focus on boutique, sustainably farmed vintners.

“I saw all of these green hotels and green wineries opening and thought, ‘There is a huge consumer demand for these kind of services but nothing really linking it all together,’” Mr. Kindler said.

In addition to exploring small-operation farms, the tours cover tastings on larger establishments including Rutherford Grove, Benziger, Frog’s Leap and others. Mr. Kindler has also pledged to reforest one acre of land per vehicle in its fleet annually.

The tours serve groups of up to six, and packages run at $125 per hour for all-inclusive, four-hour deals or $75 per hour for the a la carte option. Participants of the all-inclusive tours receive an organic lunch prepared by Whole Foods Market. Dinner transportation is offered for $50 an hour.

Mr. Kindler said he hopes to add at least one more vehicle this year with the ultimate goal of reaching eight. He would also like to construct a LEED-certified headquarters.


Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256; or Ashley Furness at afurness@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4257, or fax 707-521-5292.