Historic 19th Century Napa Valley winery converts to 21st Century solar power
CALISTOGA, Calif. - May 1, 2007 – Chateau Montelena Winery, the venerable Napa Valley winery that helped bring California wine to global prominence, today announced that 100 percent of its electricity needs will henceforth be met through solar power. A new 220 kilowatt solar electric system was installed on winery property by Premier Power Inc. of El Dorado Hills, Calif., and certified this week by Pacific Gas and Electric. The new system will run all operations at the nearly 125-year old chateau, which has been Chateau Montelena’s hallmark since its 1972 revival by the Barrett family.
“According to Galileo, wine is light held together by water,” noted Chateau Montelena winemaker Bo Barrett. “Thanks to this new solar system, the same light that nourishes our grapes will power the machinery that helps us convert them into wine. So in a very real sense, there’s sunlight in every bottle we produce. And yes, it’s pleasing to our bottom line. We like that too.”
While Chateau Montelena has always held fast to Old World winemaking values, the recent conversion to solar power is testament to the Barrett family’s belief that properly applied environmentally sustainable technology is totally consistent with even the most traditional winemaking philosophy. However, the winery emphasizes that while new technologies can be useful, they cannot replace terroir and technique.
“At the end of the day, we’re all about the juice,” Barrett continued. “Adopting solar power was an easy decision since it’s a responsible action both environmentally and fiscally. But I can also assure our clients that we will continue to deliver the winemaking excellence they have come to expect from us.”
Chateau Montelena’s new 220 kilowatt system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6,625 tons – an emission reduction equivalent to the air-filtering power of 40,000 trees - over the next 25 years alone. As a forward-thinking producer in an industry that depends on climate stability for continued survival, Chateau Montelena is demonstrating its commitment to the long term.
Montelena Established in 1882, Calistoga-based Chateau Montelena is credited for helping California wine earn worldwide recognition. In 1976, Chateau Montelena was one of two Napa Valley wineries to come out on top in a blind tasting held for a who's-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Chateau Montelena produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Riesling varieties. The winery has been owned and operated by the Barrett Family since 1972.