How Going Solar is Already Helping Balletto Vineyards

Earlier this year, Balletto Vineyards accomplished a goal that was a high priority for the Santa Rosa, California company: It became 100% solar powered. 

“This power extends to cover the entire winery, tasting room, event center and vineyard housing,” owner John Balletto said. “One of the few estate wineries in the appellation, we remain a family-owned and operated winery.” 

The effects are already being felt.

In the first nine months after installation, the building’s solar has reduced 625,000 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions and generated more than 400 total megawatts of electricity. At peak production, the system can generate up to two megawatts of electricity a day, enough to power more than 1,000 homes. Excess energy generated during the winery’s slower season is transferred back to the power grid and used throughout the system.

“This transition to solar power has been many years in the making and is in some ways a very visible milestone for all of our efforts to work in the most sustainable way possible,” Balletto said. “For many years, we have strived to implement strategies and technologies that will allow for generations of Ballettos to continue in the family wine business. Investment along these lines in our vineyards and our community, our employees, is the bedrock on which we’ll see the most positive growth in the future.”

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.

The Ballettos have also added four electric vehicle charging stations in the tasting room parking lot and are expanding the patio for tastings.

“Being able to host more guests in the most sustainable way is our goal,” Balletto said.

Despite the expanded space, tasting fees won’t go up. Balletto said they’ll remain at $15 per tasting.

“Everyone is feeling the pressures of inflation at the moment,” he said. “Combined with our expanded patio seating, we hope to continue to welcome guests to enjoy our wines as an affordable luxury.”

The moves unveiled in 2022 were made to maintain what Balletto said was the strongest asset in their portfolio: their vineyards.

“Working to ensure the health of those vineyards, in spite of climate change, is key for the coming year and beyond,” he said. “As farmers, we’ve seen it all. The spring of 1998 provided one of the most pivotal moments in our history, as three El Niño storms wiped out many of our vegetable plantings. This, along with some other factors, really drove our transition to being grape growers and continues to keep us focused on sustainability for the future. What we do now can ensure that success.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.