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America’s Greenest Winery?

March 1, 2010

RUSSIAN RIVERKathleen Inman is on a mission to make her winery an eco-haven. “I want the land to be in as good a shape or better as when I found it,” the co-owner of Inman Family Wines said.

A view of the vineyard and the new tasting room which uses solar panels, reclaimed redwood and steel made from recycled automobiles

“Even tilling kills worms in the soil,” which is why she’ll have chickens on site to naturally peck at the dirt (which will be supplemented with compost from San Francisco).

When you drive to the Inman Family winery (the tasting room is scheduled to open at the end of this month) you’ll see chickens roving the vineyard, owls nestled in wooden birdhouses, a carefully tilled organic vegetable patch and a cluster of beehives. The critters are intended to keep away pests, pollinate the grapevines and fertilize the soil all without using harmful chemicals. And she’ll sell the organic vegetables in her tasting room.

All this may make the winery feel like a 19th century farm, until you notice an electric car recharging station and the solar powered tasting room which has colorful counter tops inside that are made from recycled glass.

Inman has spent the last several months tearing down a 100-year-old barn on her property and replacing it with a state of the art tasting room. Redwood from the original barn will even be recycled and used in the new establishment. The tasting room is still under construction—right now it’s little more than poured concrete and a few steel beams, which are made from recycled automobiles of course.

The tasting room counter top is made from recycled glass and tiles behind the bar are made from reused concrete

Inman is serious about making her winery as green as possiible. Her bottles of organic pinot gris and pinot noir have labels made from bamboo and sugarcane and even the inks are natural and water-based. But Inman may have somecatching up to do: Parducci has long been dubbed the greenest winery in the country after it went carbon neutral in 2007. Though Inman isn’t producing all her own energy like Parducci, she plans to add even more green features in the future.

If you’re looking for a pinot noir that comes with a light eco-footprint, look no further.

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