Being raised on a farm, my family knew that if you wanted to bear quality fruit from the orchard, you must maintain a healthy environment and respect and care for its resources. At the time, no one talked about sustainability; it was a means of supporting the needs of our family without compromising the land for future generations. Thirty years ago when I started Paul Hobbs Winery, the discourse around sustainability was still in its infancy, however, it was always at the core of what we did.
Today, only 142 wineries are certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and each one approaches their initiatives differently. Though we are fortunate to be recognized for our commitment from this esteemed group, the idea of sustainability is not a fixed construct for us; it is holistic and not mutually exclusive. Continuously refining our practices for the land we have the privilege to farm, which will in turn benefit our community and the wine you enjoy, is paramount in order to protect and enhance precious resources.
We prioritize spending ample time walking the vineyards and interacting with the natural elements where our grapes are grown. Without being immersed in it, we wouldn’t be able to gather key learnings provided from the site and apply it to our approach: this is at the foundation of our philosophy of sustainability.
After all, what would the character of our wines from the region be today if they weren’t rooted amongst towering redwoods, coastal fog, and moderating diurnal temperatures?
Of course we will employ state-of-the-art technology – such as weather stations, evapotranspiration sensors, drone multispectral imaging, soil and petiole analysis – to gather data and advance our mission, but we will never truly automate our farming. Planting cover crops, composting, controlling pests with non-invasive strategies like building owl boxes, and reducing tractor passes are personal acts that engage instead of extricating ourselves with the challenges of farming.
Farming is personal. Failing to embrace the environment’s seasonal rhythms, soils, and inimitable microclimates would be a disservice to Mother Nature and the final wine. There is an innate affinity with nature in most people and it helps us form a bond between our relationship with our community, vineyards, and future generations to come.