Sonoma County’s Balletto Vineyards is among the most recent wineries to join the 100% solar club, realizing a goal its owners put in place roughly a decade ago.
The conversion began with a small solar pilot project, progressing to later include a new barrel storage and office building that owners John and Terri Balletto designed specifically for future solar panels with sloped south-facing roofs.
Today, solar power extends to cover the entire winery, tasting room, event center and vineyard housing. The panels were installed by Taylor Energy, another local, family-owned company.
Balletto Vineyards started in 1977 as a vegetable farming business, then known as Balletto Ranch. It was the climatic challenges of the late 1990s, which ravaged Northern California and their own vegetable plantings, that began the Balletos’ sustainability journey.
Today, Balletto Vineyards is rated to cover 100% of the electricity during the very peak of winery energy usage from August to October. During slower months, any energy generated that is not used by Balletto is transferred back to the electrical grid.
“For many years we have strived to implement strategies and technologies that allow us to work in the most sustainable way possible, allowing generations of Ballettos to continue in the family wine business, and this milestone is a testament to that vision and success,” President and Founder John Balletto said.
Vice President and Winemaker Anthony Beckman said the move to full solar extended to the equipment used in the vineyard.
“Solar energy represents our investment in the future, our community and our respect for our Russian River Valley environment,” Beckman said. “Plus, it’s super exciting to be using the sun to run cooling, pumps, forklifts and basically everything throughout the winery. It feels right.”
Future carbon-footprint reduction plans include adding four electric vehicle charging stations in the tasting room parking lot by 2023, as well as an expanded patio for tastings.