Jackson Family Wines is a family owned winery founded by Jess Jackson in 1982. The California based business now operates with 1500 employees in California, Oregon, Italy, France, Chile, Australia, and South Africa. The company formally began sustainability monitoring and operations in 2008. Jackson Family Wines publishes a robust sustainability report. The following graphic details some broad highlights from their 2016 report.
Water conservation plays an important role in the overall sustainability strategy at Jackson Family Wines. Katie Jackson, Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs, was quoted in an interview with Forbes stating: “In California, most people would agree that water is one of the defining issues of our time. It is certainly the defining issue for agriculture.” This focus on water conservation is significant given that water is such an essential component to JFW’s business of growing grapes and in light of recent California draught conditions. The forefront of their efforts on water conservation at the vineyard include:
- Recycling and reusing tank wash water for irrigation
- Increased cycles of concentration on cooling towers
- Vineyard drip irrigation systems and weather-driven irrigation practices
- Innovative sap flow monitoring technology
- Wind machines for frost protection
- Rainwater harvesting
These initiatives have led to a 41% reduction in water use per gallon of wine produced since 2008. Looking forward, an additional 33% reduction goal has been established for 2021 using 2015 as a baseline. One of the more unique efforts was created especially for washing out wine barrels.
“We worked in tandem with the Tom Beard Company to develop integrated wash water recycling units for our automated barrel lines to reuse water up to three times before sending it to the drain, saving approximately 700,000 gallons per year. The automated barrel washing lines in our Monterey winery are fitted with water recycling units that recapture barrel wash water (and embodied energy used to heat it) for reuse three times”
Partnerships can play an important role in an organization's ability to address local sustainability needs. The Russian River watershed in Sonoma County is a rearing ground for endangered juvenile Coho salmon during the summer. In 2015, these endangered salmon were at risk as their habitat began to diminish under draught conditions. Jackson Family Wines helped start the Green Valley Creek Initiative to assist these endangered Coho salmon during the summer. They worked in partnership with local community members and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to aid juvenile Coho in the Green Valley Creek by releasing water into the draught-stricken creek from vineyard reservoirs. An additional component of the program included a $40,000 donation to Trout Unlimited which went towards purchasing residential water tanks for locals. These tanks could collect and store water to decrease the amount of water withdrawn from the watershed during draught conditions.