Like any responsible winegrower, we recognize that our livelihood depends on our proactive efforts to maintain healthy soil, healthy vines and a healthy relationship with the earth.

This responsibility guided us in our choice of sites, design and materials for the J. Christopher Winery, and it continues to guide our practices in the vineyards and cellar.


The winery was intentionally designed and situated to be as energy efficient as possible. We chose a north-facing hillside as our site, which allowed us both to minimize direct sun exposure during the day, and to set our barrel caves into the cool hillside.

Below ground, our pre-cast concrete caves use no energy for temperature control – they stay naturally cool and humid, creating the ideal environment for maturing wines. Above ground, the winery’s concrete walls have integral insulation for an additional layer of energy efficiency.

Most of the energy we do use is provided by our own solar array on the roof. The design of our upper and lower crush pad makes use of gravity to minimize energy and equipment use.

Winery building with solar panels
Flowering Pinot Noir


Similarly, our Appassionata Vineyard was thoughtfully planned to minimize the impact on the land and to foster a biodiverse ecosystem.

We preserved many of the property’s magnificent oak trees, and left a wooded area and wetlands untouched to maintain an active wildlife corridor.

When we discovered a huge honeybee colony living in a tree that did need to be removed, we relocated that section of the tree to another part of the property, where the hive continued to thrive for many years.

Other trees that were removed provided the wood for the bars and tables throughout our tasting room, the colorful flooring in the loft, and even our coat rack.


In both our Appassionata Vineyard and the Medici Vineyard, which we lease and manage, we farm according to the Salmon Safe guidelines for sustainable viticulture. There are no pesticides or chemical fertilizers used in our vineyards – only organic soil amendments, including compost that we make from our own pomace. If we need extra help controlling weeds, we occasionally use an organic-approved herbicide.

Our winemaking practices trust nature to do much of the work. We strive to minimize waste in our tasting room and in all aspects of wine production. All glass, metal, and cardboard are recycled. Even the process water from the winery is filtered, aerated, and returned to the earth.

As a founding member of the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, we are involved in the global effort to develop a true sustainability standard. In the meantime, we are following best practices from Salmon Safe and other regional standards.

Graper Vines