Jackson Family Wines cuts water use by 31%, pledges more by 2021
Santa Rosa-based Jackson Family Wines, one of the world's largest producers, said it has cut water use at its dozens of wineries and thousands of acres of vines worldwide by 31 percent and plans more big cuts in the next five years.
The maker of brands such as Kendall-Jackson, La Crema and Cambria on Sept. 7 released its first sustainability report, showing efforts since 2008 and laying out targets for 2021. It's something that 92 percent of the world's largest companies now publish regularly, according to Netherlands-based Global Reporting Initiative. GRI developed sustainability standards in the late 1990s now used in 90-plus countries.
'My family has long been at the forefront of responsible winegrowing with a decades-long commitment to environmental stewardship, innovation in energy and water management, and caring for our people and communities,' said Katie Jackson, vice president of sustainability and external affairs at Jackson Family Wines. 'Today's wine consumers are passionate about sustainability and support wineries that share their values, so I am truly excited to reveal the details of our progress and our ambitious five-year goals in this inaugural report.'
Jackson also has created what's said to be the wine business' largest portfolio of solar electricity generation — 6.5 megawatts' worth installed at nine wineries, according to the 29-page report. And to store some of that for use when the sun's not shining, the company put in 8.4 megawatt-hours of Tesla Powerpack stationary batteries. Jackson wants to produce enough electricity at its locations to offset half the usage in five years.
The company also installed low-water barrel and waterless tank sanitation systems by Tom Beard Co. of Santa Rosa. Tanks are cleaned via high-strength ultraviolet light. Barrels are automatically scoured with water that's sanitized and reused up to three times, saving 700,000 gallons of water and also reducing energy needs for heating water.
The number of gallons required to make wine — called 'water intensity' — plummeted 41 percent to 5.4 gallons per gallon of wine last year from 9 gallons of water in 2008. Jackson plans to cut winery water intensity by another third by 2021, or around 3.5 gallons per gallon of wine.
In the vineyards, Jackson installed sap-flow sensors by Fruition Systems to irrigate only when vines really need it, cutting irrigation water use by 25 percent.
The battery and water-use innovations came through pilot programs with the manufacturers, and Jackson pledges to have at lease one such effort going each year. The company also is committing to at least one land-conservation or restoration project annually.
Jackson now recycles 98 percent of packaging waste from bottling operations and plans to halve total solid-waste produced at its facilities. That includes the goal of having no waste at tasting rooms.
These efforts have reduced the company's GHG Protocol Scope 1–3 greenhouse-gas impact by 17 percent since 2008. Those scopes, respectively, are direct emissions, indirect emissions such as purchased energy, and other indirect emissions outside a company's control. Jackson plans to cut those impacts by another 25 percent in five years.
To provide validation for its work, Jackson has had all family-owned wineries and vineyards certified through the third-party programs California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW), Sustainability in Practice (SIP) and Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE).
Jackson Family Wines won consecutive Top Project of the Year awards from Environmental Leader in 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2016 California Green Medal Leader Award for Sustainable Winegrowing. Jackson Family Wines was also named 2013 the drinks business Green Company of the Year, and was a recipient of an EPA Green Power Leadership Award in 2011.