(San Francisco, CA) -- Four Napa and Sonoma County Vineyards are launching a Facebook application today to generate awareness about renewable energy and provide a way for Facebook's 90 million users to actively participate in motivating wineries to go green.
Founding participants Girard Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Windsor Sonoma Vineyards, and Windsor Vineyards are all part of "Green my Vino," an innovative green energy campaign created by San Francisco-based Village Green Energy, a company that supports the use of renewable energy from local generators.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for wineries to give back," said Pat Roney, a partner in Girard, Windsor Vineyards and Windsor Sonoma Vineyards. "This has been pushed to the forefront because the Gen Y in particular are very interested in social causes. They've also become wine consumers at a younger age then other generations and therefore are already supporting the wine industry. What's great about this is by participating in the application, people are telling us that clean energy is a priority for them, and we'll make supporting renewable energy a part of our commitment as a business."
Consultant John Garn, developer of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing workbook for the California Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers agrees. "Social marketing is becoming a big part of what's happening today. This project will be very successful because it gives people a direct dialog to make a difference. This also gives wineries a starting point. No one ever wants to be first but everyone wants to be second. Once these wineries get recognized for making a positive change many others will want to be a part of this."
The application enables Facebook users to give each other free online gifts worth One Minute, Five Minutes, and Ten Minutes of renewable energy. For each gift, Village Green will purchase the equivalent amount of renewable energy on the user's behalf.
Each winery has set a minutes goal. When one goal has been met the focus moves to the next winery. Iron Horse Vineyards is going first and has agreed to power their entire operation with renewable energy when Facebook friends have gifted each other with 10,000 minutes of solar and wind power. Girard is next with a goal of 17,000 minutes, followed by 30,000 for Windsor Vineyards, and Windsor Sonoma at 45,000 minutes.
Iron Horse Vineyards CEO Joy Sterling and her family has always felt they were 'Stewards of the Land.' "We've always believed in keeping things natural; eat locally produced food, growing our own vegetables. Then I saw Al Gore's movie and was very impressed because it emphasized that for as big as the environmental problem is everyone can do something to help. Other wineries will become involved. This has such potential to make a big impact."
If the application is successful, Village Green estimates the wineries will purchase over 1.2 million kWh of renewable power -- enough to power the four initial wineries entirely with green energy for a year based on their past electricity use. The renewable power will be purchased via renewable energy certificates from Mountain View II Wind Facility in Palm Springs and several solar arrays in Los Angeles
"The real thing to emphasis here is that through friendships and connections it's possible to make a lasting change on business and sustain our resources," says Village Green Co-Founder Robby Bearman. "Our goal has been to develop programs that make business sense for our customers to participate in and save the environment."
"This is a unique opportunity to witness and participate in companies going green," Garn added. "However, this is just a conversation starter. The next topics with be about water and waste."
To view the application website, track its progress, and learn more about renewable power go to www.villagegreenergy.com/facebook.