They say good fences make good neighbors, but it was a love of wine and winemaking that forged a connection between Opolo owners Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols. Opolo believes a strong, cooperative relationship with the land and environment is crucial. They practice sustainable methods in both the winery and vineyard operations in order to preserve the environment, water, and local wildlife. Opolo is a SIP Certified operation as well as certified organic by “CCOF” in their 64 acre walnut orchard.
Opolo has worked with Vineyard Team, the developers of SIP Certified, for many years, hosting educational tailgate meetings and participating in field research projects. We recently talked with them about their participation in SIP Certified.
SIP Certified: Where do you use the SIP Certified seal?
Opolo: We’ve incorporated the SIP Certified seal on our point of sale items, neckers, case cards, shelf talkers. We also recently updated our wine labels and incorporated the SIP Certified seal into the back label design. We use the seal stickers on our case boxes and have SIP collateral in our tasting room as talking points with guests.
SIP Certified: Do you talk about your sustainable practices in your marketing materials and/or on your website?
Opolo: Currently our website highlights our main efforts. We plan to elaborate and expand content on our website in the very near future. We also utilize social media to tag and share SIP Certified.
SIP Certified: How do you incorporate sustainability into your company culture and training?
Opolo: We work every day to incorporate sustainability into our entire business process. We communicate with the team to inspire and encourage further sustainable practices. Some of those practices include:
- The use of Ranch Systems to monitor soil moisture to help us make better irrigation decisions
- Also to help with irrigation decisions, we are putting in 5 new sensors on our east side properties along with Tule ET sensors
- Our supervisors attend Vineyard Team tailgates each month and a number of other talks that are IPM related
- We fly bird kites to consciously mitigate bird damage in the vineyard
- We recycle water through our two-tank wetlands system which uses marine plants to filter the water to be reused in the vineyard
- Our wetlands also provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms, insects and birds
SIP Certified: Has your sustainable certification given you opportunities or advantages in the market?
Opolo: For many of us, being good stewards of the land in production, and even in our business offices has been an obvious priority from the start. To see the consumer and decision makers in the market really identify and prioritize their choices based on sustainability has been huge. More people are talking and caring about the processes of the products they consume. To be able to acknowledge those practices in a more meaningful way with SIP Certified specifically, has presented more opportunities in the market, and has provided connecting conversations with consumers.
SIP Certified: Share a few pictures showing how you use the SIP Certified seal in your marketing materials.