Published on 01-04-2024
Sustainability at Etude

“Sustainable farming results in better, higher quality wine,
and ensures the viability of our estate for generations to come.”

—Jon Priest, Sr. Winemaker & General Manager

Etude Sustainability

For many months, those coming to Los Carneros for Etude’s “The Study of Pinot” tasting experience of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from the winery’s famed Grace Benoist Ranch, were forewarned that a renovation was underway. On arrival, signs indicating where to park and where to find the tasting room’s temporary entrance offered few clues about what that renovation entailed, with the exception that obviously something extensive was going on behind a large, screened, outdoor area.    
All will be revealed June 2nd at a gala event with food vendors, live music and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy pourings of the Carneros winery’s award-winning Pinot Noirs, highly touted Cabernet Sauvignons, and new sparkling wines.

Etude patio

What’s Been Happening
With an aim to further enhance its efforts to become even more sustainable, including a goal of using one hundred percent renewable electricity by end of 2024 and eventually reaching net-zero emissions, Etude turned its eye to the visitor center’s outdoor plaza.  For years, the entry plaza has featured an expansive grass lawn, requiring high water use. “We knew that we could not only make the space more welcoming for guests and flexible for a variety of experiences, but with a water wise landscape we could really impact our overall carbon footprint,” says Benjamin Mason, Hospitality Manager.  The renovated outdoor plaza includes the installation of native plants requiring little to no irrigation, and lawn areas replaced with an innovative, organic, artificial turf, and paths constructed of water permeable materials. When completed, water usage on the property is expected to be reduced by at least 55 percent in the first year and by as much as 89 percent thereafter. In addition, new plantings will include those found helpful to vineyard management - such as Chinese pistache trees which are indicators of the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter, and a pollinator habitat to attract butterflies and beneficial insects. Garden windbreaks created of native hedge varieties are being strategically located to help mitigate the Carneros AVA’s afternoon prevailing winds. 

The project also considers guest enhancements that include a new guest entrance with a concierge stand to provide easier check in and wayfinding, improved seating areas for increased tasting capacity, an expanded tasting plaza shaded with pergolas built with reclaimed timber. All pathways are designed to be ADA compliant; ramps are replacing stairs. Every element of the plan is designed to support Etude’s sustainability ethos while providing an enhanced visitor experience. 

Etude’s long history of land stewardship began with the acquisition of the Grace Benoist Ranch land in 1982, a year before Napa’s cooler climate Carneros became a designated AVA. (Interesting to note, that in its 40-plus-year history Etude has had but two winemakers – Tony Soter, its founding winemaker, and for the past 19 years Sr. Winemaker & General Manager Jon Priest.) In the early planting of the Grace Benoist Ranch to vineyard, two thirds of the ranch was left undeveloped to preserve and aid native wildlife migration and protect riparian habitats. Today, the vineyard is shared with wild turkeys, pigs, falcons, owls and the occasional bear.
Recycled water from the Carneros Pipeline Project has long brought clean, treated, water for irrigation and to fill fire-suppression ponds, reducing reliance on groundwater. For over a decade, solar panels have reduced energy costs and, through the sale of renewable energy credits, have allowed Etude to help green the grid.

Employees manage a compost and recycling program to divert waste away from landfills. They also cultivate an on-site vegetable garden that not only provides them with vegetables to take home but since 2020 has contributed up to 3,000 pounds of fresh produce yearly to the Napa Valley Food Bank. 


Etude looks forward to welcoming you and your guests to the June 2 celebration of the completion of another historic milestone in the estate’s dedication to sustainability. Mark your calendars and watch Etude’s website, for latest details.  



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