How Green Medal Award Winning Pisoni Vineyards Is Ramping Up Sustainability Efforts
Now in their sixth year, the California Green Medal Awards recognize the leadership of wineries and vineyards that are committed to sustainability.
Recipients of the 2020 awards didn’t make it to State Capital in Sacramento for the traditional ceremony with the California Department of Food and Agriculture because of the Covid-19 situation, but the video recognizing California 2020 Green Medal Award winning wineries and vineyards is available here.
This year’s awards come at a time that extreme weather events, including wildfires, are bringing increased attention to the need for a broader dialogue on climate change and sustainability.
Farming for Biodiversity
At Pisoni Family Vineyards, sustainability is about best farming practices drawn from conventional, natural, organic, and biodynamic approaches. It’s a small operation that invests in overall ecosystem management.
In 2017 Pisoni developed an insectary garden at its estate vineyard. 1.5 acres were taken out of production and dedicated to enhancing biodiversity and to pest management. Native plants bloom year-round to ensure habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators and there's a small orchard with 40 different fruiting trees, along with an apiary.
Mark Pisoni is registered on the Monterey County beekeeper list and keeping honey bees is a favorite hobby. He spends a lot of time picking up bees from houses in the community that don't want them, bringing them to his ranch.
Employees each receive monthly produce bags with fruits and vegetables and a bottle of wine or a jar of honey. Everything comes from Pisoni’s vineyards and vegetable ranches.
The company supports the fight against breast cancer with Lucy rosé, which has raised more than $100k since inception. Pisoni has hosted students from the Farms Leadership Program, Auburn University and the program Olinga in hopes of inspiring future agriculturalists.
Mark Pisoni is a big fan of the SIP certified sustainable program.
“Growers need to pay more attention to their ranches, Mark Pisoni said. “I feel pretty confident that what we're doing is good long term for our planet.”
Pisoni Family Vineyards received the Business Award, “given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.”