Our final stop was the wine shop, where visitors sample wines and peruse seasonings, olive oils from the gardens, and other culinary treasures. I strolled through the shop, selecting a few remembrances of this luscious vineyard.
As I headed out of the winery, I passed beneath an archway labeled "Education and Good Times," and I heard Kathy's voice echoing in my head, "That's our mantra here."
Trish Riley is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Greening Your Business (Alpha Books, 2009, with Heather Gadonniex) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living (Alpha Books 2007), as well as many travel books and articles about environmental issues.
Photo: Benziger Family Winery
The business owners drive hybrid cars, and electric golf carts are used on the property.
Energy is saved by the use of the human-made cave dug into the mountainside – the temperature is naturally cool for the wines, so air conditioning is not needed. Kathy said the savings covered the cost of the project.
The garden provides produce for staff members, and it's also sold to a few area restaurants.
Nearly three million gallons per year of water are saved – as is the associated cost – through the use of the recycling pond.