A Commitment To Sustainability
Santa Margherita began with a personal and passionate commitment to preserving the environment. Environmental, economic and social considerations have been the core touchstones of our company and we continue to honor that with our efforts in every facet of how our wineries operate.
That includes making truly sustainable choices to save energy, reduce pollution and respect the land and those who live and work on it. That statement is not just meaningless corporate language. We walk the walk, and we’re proud to be pioneers of efficient and renewable energy use in the industry.
Some of these efforts include strict management protocols in our vineyards, eschewing the use of chemicals. In addition, we safeguard the woodlands and biodiverse environments around our vineyards, including significant investments in water conservation and reforestation projects.
Our approach to winemaking is eco-friendly, revolving around the use of natural products and growing processes to protect the health and well-being of the vineyards. An example of this can be found at our production center in Chianti Classico, where we’ve opted to use products such as copper and sulfur in the growing practices and have chosen to use compost made from pruned vegetation to feed the soil.
Most winemakers will tell you, the less manipulation of the grapes and vineyards, the higher the quality of wine produced. We agree, but we also welcome the use of gentle, non-invasive technology to improve the production process and remain as efficient as possible. We apply organic land management practices that contribute to the long-term health of our environment. Our computerized, in-ground irrigation systems are designed to reduce water evaporation and runoff making them more efficient. In Chianti Classico, our winemakers employ “extreme organic farming,” eliminating the need for conventional chemical pesticides, and in Veneto, we hand-harvest 90% of our grapes to preserve their freshness and delicate flavors. In addition, we are excited to announce that we will soon be ready for our global organic certification.
We are constantly reinvesting in new resources and technologies that help to deliver the highest quality, vegan, and sustainable products. In an effort to be more conscious and aware of sustainable and responsible practices, we abandoned the use of animal byproducts years ago, and instead use only vegan-friendly bentonite clay, yeast-derived and vegetable-derived products during filtration. In addition, we ensure that we maintain these standards throughout our entire production process by only working with vegan suppliers.
One of our strongest efforts in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is our emphasis on the production and use of clean energy. For example, at Santa Margherita, we only use energy derived from 100% renewable sources, such as the 6,500 square feet of solar panels used at our winery in Portogruaro, making this winery completely self-powered. We produce 360,000-kilowatt hours of energy every year, the equivalent of burning approximately 145 tons of coal. This eliminates our CO2 emission output by 190 tons, a solid example of our commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. In fact, 10% of our overall production of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (1.5 million bottles!) is certified carbon-neutral. Our Torresella production facilities are also entirely solar-powered.
KM 0 – THE ZERO KILOMETER
We are also guided by the essential belief in the “Zero Kilometer” philosophy, and its beneficial effects on our environment and society. This is achieved by limiting our environmental impact by reducing our carbon footprint; avoiding, whenever possible, the use of products derived from fossil-fuel carbon; reducing or eliminating long transportation routes, and keeping our operations and production local to our vineyards. This idea, originated by the Italian Slow Food movement, recognizes that producing agricultural products within our local facilities (100 kilometers or less), creates less stress and impact on the physical environment, benefits the immediate community with economic and societal advantages, and respects and preserves regional traditions.
At Santa Margherita, Torresella, Lamole di Lamole and Feudo Zirtari, our grapes are grown in estate vineyards immediately surrounding our wineries, strategically located just for that purpose. In Tuscany, we have centralized our red wine production and bottling for the Santa Margherita, Lamole di Lamole and Sassoregale wineries in a joint operations center, also sharing power and supply resources. Instead of sourcing wine bottles from outside companies, we create our own at our glass production facility, centrally located next to our winery in Portogruaro, where both utilize the same power resources produced from solar energy. This reduces various pollutants related to storage and transportation emissions. In addition, up to 65% of our green glass bottles for all of our wineries are made of recycled material.
We’re as proud of these practices as we are of the wine that you pour into your glass, and it represents the heart of what we strive for.