40 for 40: Part 2 of 4

posted Oct 21, 2015, 1:40 PM by Colinas Farming   [ updated May 13, 2016, 2:16 PM ]

This next series is focused on Colinas Farming Company’s contribution in preserving and protecting our environment.


11.    Fish Friendly Farming Certifications


Colinas Farming Company secured third party sustainable certifications for best management practices from the California Land Stewardship Institute.  The certification, known as “Fish Friendly Farming” provides the public and consumers with an independent third party verification that the farming practices performed by Colinas Farming Company on the properties we manage, in the words of the Institute, “assures the consumer that the wines and farm products they purchase are produced by protecting and restoring the environment and by sustaining the beauty and natural habitats of California.”  

List of Colinas Farming Company clients who are certified:

·         Round Pond Vineyard
·         Red Barn Ranch
·         Hills\MacDonnell Vineyard
·         Rutherford River Ranch
·         Hermosa Vineyard

The Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program is run by the California Land Stewardship Institute, a non-profit organization located in Napa County, California. It is a certification program for agricultural properties that are managed, to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality.


If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at www.fishfriendlyfarming.org

12.    River Restoration Project

Colinas Farming Company is honored to have received from the US Congress, a “Certificate of Special Recognition” for our support and participation in the efforts of the Rutherford Dust Society’s restoration of the Rutherford reach of the Napa River.  This is an unprecedented collaborative effort of a cohesive group of landowners, government agencies, and other stake holders that have come together to restore the Napa River.   

The project’s goal is to significantly reduce, and even reverse, river bank erosion. These adverse conditions were caused, in large part by previous misguided, unintentional clearing of the river channel and berm construction along the upper banks.  In many areas along the river, landowners are removing productive vineyards to allow setbacks from the river.  These setbacks have been hydrologically designed to allow the river a more natural course, reducing flow velocities and establishing productive spawning habitat for salmonids.  (Salmonid: any of a family (Salmonidae) of elongated bony fishes (as a salmon or trout) that have the last three vertebrae upturned)

Colinas Farming Company has been an active participant of these efforts for a number of years.  We are planning to be involved through the duration of the restoration and look forward to participating in the future restoration of other reaches of the Napa River.


If you wish to learn more about this project, visit their website at http://www.napawatersheds.org/app_pages/view/228

13.    Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program

Colinas Farming Company is proud to be awarded the Carl Moyer Program grant each time we applied (two times), over the last four years. 

On July 5, 2011, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and Colinas Farming Company entered into a Grant Agreement No. 12MOY80. The Air District awarded Colinas Farming Company a Carl Moyer Program Grant for a project to reduce emissions by replacing five pieces of off-road equipment. 

Colinas Farming Company must implement the Project in accordance with the terms belonging to Colinas Farming Company and conditions of the Agreement, include maintaining the Project equipment according to manufacturer’s specifications throughout the Project Term.

In February 2015, we were awarded the grant for the second time and this allowed us to replace five units of off-road equipment. 

The Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program is an incentive program to provide grants in order to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter (PM10), and reactive organic compounds in the State from sources of air pollution, such as heavy-duty and light-duty diesel vehicles, off-road construction equipment, marine vessels and agricultural sources of pollution, by measures such as replacement of engines with cleaner-than-required engines or installation of emission reduction equipment. 

If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/moyer/moyer.htm.

14.    Spare the Air Program Participant

Since 2011, Colinas Farming Company has been a participating employer in the Spare the Air Program. As a participating employer, when a Spare the Air Alert has been issued, coordinators are sent an email around 1:00 PM the previous day asking them to notify their employees. Providing the notification the day before allows employees time to arrange carpools, figure out work schedule which require the use of company vehicles, thereby reducing the number of commute trips taken on a critical air quality day.

The Spare the Air program was established by the BAAQMD in 1991 to reduce air pollution and provide advance notice when a "Spare the Air Alert" is in effect. The Air District declares Spare the Air Alerts on days when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy. The Spare the Air program has two seasonal components that educate residents about the effects of air pollution and encourage them to take action to improve air quality in the Bay Area.

If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at www.sparetheair.org.

15.    Napa Commute Challenge 

Since its establishment in 2012, Colinas Farming Company has participated in the annual Napa Commute Challenge organized by the Solano Napa Commuter Info (SNCI). Go Green, Win Green! SNCI challenges employers to encourage as many employees as possible to try a commute alternative (other than driving alone to work) such as carpooling, vanpooling, public transit, bicycling or walking to work.

Over the past four years, most of our participating employees have been awarded gas and grocery gift cards. The company has also won awards for participating in the program listed below.

Colinas Farming Company is the Most Outstanding Workplace in the 2015 Napa Commute Challenge.
    • 2015 Most Outstanding Workplace (33 Commute Champion Employees) 
    • 2014 Commute Champion Workplace (29 Commute Champion Employees) 
    • 2013 Commute Champion Workplace (31 Commute Champion Employees) 

By participating, we have also positively affected climate change by reducing our carbon footprint, and greenhouse gases.

If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at http://www.commuterinfo.net/Content/10114/preview.html.

16.    Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program

Colinas Farming Company complies with this program by providing employees with alternate commuter benefit. All our employees are eligible to participate in the Napa County Emergency Ride Home Program organized by SNCI.

SNCI will provide a FREE ride home if:
          • Employees have used alternative transportation to get to work on the day you use an Emergency Ride Home voucher: carpool, vanpool, train, ferry, bus, walk or bicycle; AND 
          • The employee or his/her immediate family member suffers an illness or severe crisis that requires your immediate attention; OR 
          • After the start of the employee’s shift or workday, your employer requests that you work unscheduled overtime; OR
          • The employee’s ridesharing vehicle breaks down, or the driver has to unexpectedly stay late or leave early. 
We also work with SNCI to provide information to our employees on alternative transportation to get to work that includes information on carpool and vanpool.

The Commuter Benefits Program is mandatory for all employers in the Bay Area with 50 of more full-time employees, per Senate Bill 1339, located in California Government Code section 65081. The Program will help to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion by decreasing single-occupant vehicle commute trips to Bay Area worksites, while providing tax savings for employees and employers.

If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at http://www.baaqmd.gov/rules-and-compliance/commuter-benefits.

17.    Pesticide Container Recycling

We, at Colinas Farming Company, support plastic recycling and work with Napa County in the proper disposal of our plastic containers.

Every day we sort our trash and usually fill-up two of our plastic recycling bins weekly. We also recycle old drip hose and plastic irrigation parts when we remove and replace a vineyard. In addition, we participate in a bi-annual Ag Chemical Container Recycling event sponsored by the Napa County in recycling of plastic containers.

If you wish to learn more about this program, visit their website at http://www.countyofnapa.org/AgCommissioner/ContainerRecycling/.

18.    Bio-Control and Bio-Diversity 

                Colinas Farming Company seeks ways to encourage bio-control and bio-diversity through such means as installation of owl and blue bird boxes throughout all of our managed properties.

We closely monitor disease and pest pressures and always use organic pesticides or least toxic alternatives when designing our crop protection programs.

19.    Varying vegetation used for crop covers

Over the past 15 to 20 years, Colinas Farming Company has been utilizing more and more permanent grass cover crops. This has been instrumental in controlling the vigor, and increasing the quality of the grapes we farm. This has also reduced soil compaction and dusty working conditions. We now use more species of brassicas(a) for nematode(b) suppression on young vineyards, giving the vines better health while becoming established. Other projects have included adding insectary crops(c) for pollinator and natural predator habitat.

(a) a plant of a genus that includes cabbage, turnip, Brussels sprout, and mustard. (Source: Oxford Dictionaries. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/)

(b) a worm of the large phylum Nematoda, such as a roundworm or threadworm. (Source: Oxford Dictionaries. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/)

(c) are those that attract insects. As such, beneficial insectary plants are intentionally introduced into an ecosystem to increase pollen resources and nectar resources required by the natural enemies of harmful or unwanted insect pests. Beyond an effective natural control of pests, the friendly insects also assist in pollination. (Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insectary_plant)

20.    Improvements in vineyard technology

In the vineyard, technology has come in the form of increased remote sensing. We now utilize several technologies to monitor stress and water status of each of the vineyards we farm. From neutron probes(a) to dendrometers(b), each tool gives us more information about what is happening above and below ground. We also utilize annual NDVI(c) imagery to monitor variations within vineyards and blocks. This helps us to dial in our precision viticulture approach.

(a) a device used to measure the quantity of water present in soil. (Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_probe.)

(b) any of several devices for measuring trees (Source: Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dendrometer)

(c) NDVI - The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a simple graphical indicator that can be used to analyze remote sensing measurements, typically but not necessarily from a space platform, and assess whether the target being observed contains live green vegetation or not. (Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalized_Difference_Vegetation_Index.)