The Merrill Family’s agricultural heritage and grape growing history dates back at least eight generations on California’s central coast. Owner Dana Merrill is a founding member of the Vineyard Team, the developers of SIP Certified. After nearly 30 years of growing grapes for many of the finest wineries in California, ranging from ultra premium small producers to the largest international brands, the Merrill’s decided to produce their own wines under the label Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery.
We recently spoke with eighth generation farmer Matt Merrill about his family’s long standing commitment to sustainability.
SIP Certified: Where do you use the SIP Certified seal?
Matt Merrill: We currently use the SIP Certified seal on 14 different wines that we produce. We like to use the Seal on our promotional materials, tasting lists, wine profile sheets etc.
SIP Certified: Do you talk about your sustainable practices in your marketing materials and/or on your website?
Matt Merrill: We include our sustainable farming practices in all of our marketing materials and go into detail on our website with links to sipcertified.org. We love to talk about our practices during our tastings at the winery.
SIP Certified: How do you incorporate sustainability into your company culture and training?
Matt Merrill: Owner Dana Merrill was one of the founders of the Vineyard Team, which developed the SIP Certified program. Sustainability is a huge part of our company culture of which health and safety are key. We have offered health insurance for full time employees for over 20 years and a matching 401k program. Safety trainings and tailgates are the backbone of our company’s success. We incorporate many elements to balance the whole farm system including: beneficial cover crops, drip irrigaiton/water conservation, biological insect farming practices, biological vertabrate pest management, soil fertility, energy efficiency, and canopy management techniques.
SIP Certified: Has your sustainable certification given you opportunities or advantages in the market?
Matt Merrill: SIP Certified has helped us gain opportunities in the marketplace that may not have been available to us without it. Consumers are intrigued by and becoming better educated on the matter. In general wine buyers seem to be embracing the movement as well.
Here are some examples of how Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery uses the SIP Certified seal: