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Press Release: Alexander Valley Vineyards recognized as certified Sonoma Green Business

June 23, 2010

Healdsburg, CA: June 23, 2010 - Alexander Valley Vineyards has been recognized as a certified Sonoma Green Business by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. To date, 14 wineries have had their green practices officially recognized by the program.

The certification recognizes AVV as an environmental leader that conserves resources, minimizes waste and prevents pollution, according to environmental officials with Sonoma County who reviewed the winery’s achievements for two years before awarding the certification. Harry Wetzel – Assistant Winemaker / Family Partner credited county leaders with taking steps that make it easier for businesses to improve their environmental practices. He noted that the county has helped business recycle, resulting in a 60% reduction in waste from AVV since he was a child growing up on the property.

Alexander Valley Vineyard’s many “green” initiatives have been in use for over the past three decades. Early on, the Wetzel Family composted winery waste, practiced irrigation management and planted cover crops in the vineyards to minimize the use of pesticides and control erosion. Founders Hank and Linda Wetzel’s motto was: “Sustainability is about using less and having more” and from the beginning they instilled those values into their family. More recently, they installed solar panels on the winery and increased their naturally cooled caves to 25,000 square feet. Harry Wetzel has followed his Dad’s lead on sustainability and says that “quite simply it is the right thing to do. Minimizing our impact on the environment is not only good for us, but it’s healthy for everything around us as well.” Today, he is raising his family, the fourth generation of Wetzels, on the property purchased by his grandparents in 1962 from the heirs of Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s namesake.

“When people ask why we would go to all this effort, the reason I most often give is that we live here,” he added. “We don’t want to be spraying toxic pesticides, or wasting water and electricity like there is a limitless supply or ruining the land by letting it erode. All of that would defeat the purpose of living in such a wonderful area.”

About Alexander Valley Vineyards:
Alexander Valley Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery located in the heart of Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, on the historic property originally settled in the 19th century by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s namesake. For 35 years, the Wetzel Family has been producing an array of estate wines that reflect the unique character of the property. AVV’s vineyard practices were initially recognized by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in March 2006.

About Sonoma Green Business:

Fall 2007 marked the expansion of the Sonoma Green Business Program to include a wider range of businesses and fully integrate the Bay Area Green Business Program standards. Coordinated by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board in cooperation with the Business Environmental Alliance, the Sonoma Green Business Program verifies that businesses meet higher standards of environmental performance. Our partnership of government agencies and utilities helps local businesses comply with all environmental regulations and take actions to conserve resources, prevent pollution, and minimize waste.
Contact: Mara Hochman – Green Business Coordinator: e-mail: mhochman@sonoma-county.org, Phone: 707-565-6455
http://www.sonoma-county.org/sonomagreen/

About California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance:
The long-term mission for the Sustainable Winegrowing Program includes: Establishing voluntary high standards of sustainable practices to be followed and maintained by the entire wine community. Enhancing winegrower-to-winegrower and vintner-to-vintner education on the importance of sustainable practices and how self-governing will enhance the economic viability and future of the wine community. Demonstrating how working closely with neighbors, communities and other stakeholders to maintain an open dialogue can address concerns, enhance mutual respect, and accelerate results.


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