Stoller Vineyards, First Gold-Level LEED Certified Winery In U.S., To Celebrate 6th Harvest

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Stoller Vineyards of Dayton, Oregon, is making plans for its sixth harvest in its Gold Level, LEED-Certified winemaking facility, the first complete winery to attain this level of certification by the US Green Building Council. Achieving the Gold Level has resulted in many benefits at all levels of the Stoller operation.

Stoller Vineyards

When we decided to build our winery, we opted to construct a a way that would leave as small an environmental footprint as possible...I couldn’t be more pleased with the results

This year, Stoller Vineyards will complete its sixth harvest in its Gold level LEED certified winery. Located in the Dundee Hills AVA in Dayton, Oregon, the Stoller building was the first complete winemaking facility in North America to earn LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and the experience has been a good one. The facility has proven to be efficient and as user-friendly to the winemaking team as it is sound for the environment.

Winery founder, Bill Stoller, was born on the property and considers himself more a steward of the land than he does its owner. “When we decided to build our winery, we opted to construct a facility that would not only enable us to produce world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but do so in a way that would leave as small an environmental footprint as possible. The LEED Certification process gave us a framework with which to work and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. LEED has given us the inspiration to focus on a broad range of sustainability issues, leading us to becoming certified LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture & Enology) for the winery (our vineyard was already certified), and active in Salmon Safe, OCSW (Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine) and the Oregon wine industry’s carbon neutral program. Having achieved the LEED Gold level has also instilled a real sense of pride among our team members and customers. The feeling of being the first winery in the U.S. to attain this designation and the recognition that comes with it has added to the pride factor.”

According to Stoller Vineyards winemaker, Melissa Burr, “For me, the LEED Gold level building certification is an indication of the longevity and energy efficiency of our facility. Many wineries and commercial buildings are in the process of making changes to reduce carbon footprints, but in our case we began the design phase with this goal in mind.”

Continues Burr: “We’re proud that in 2006 we were the first winery to attain the Gold level mark and it’s gratifying to see many wineries and tasting rooms striving for the same goal now. The LEED process is seemingly becoming easier to work with as the availability of eco building materials, design knowledge and awareness increases. The LEED certification at any level doesn't guarantee that the resulting wine will taste better in the glass; the certificate indicates that the structure was built to be energy efficient and sustainable. However; the gravity flow capability, underground barrel rooms, and high quality winemaking equipment involved in the building does translate into quality in our wine.”

Many of the winery’s energy conservation features were designed into the winery’s structure. A series of catacombs flow into a thermal mass of gravel within the building, using the naturally cool evening temperatures to increase energy savings. “Vents on the outside of the building are opened up at night, allowing cool air to enter the building and lower the temperature without having to resort to using fossil fuel,” adds Stoller. “When the sun rises the next morning and the temperature increases, the vents close and the winery remains consistent due to the sheer mass of the gravel.”

The winery was built into the hillside, further moderating temperature shifts. The solar array on the building’s roof was designed to provide 44,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year, and rain runoff and wastewater from the winemaking process is collected and used to irrigate nearby pastures that also serve as the home for native wildlife.

Stoller Vineyards, located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the Dundee Hills AVA, uniquely offers world-class wines and genuine hospitality in a stunning setting. Owners Bill and Cathy Stoller purchased the nearly 400 acre property, which was originally his family’s turkey farm, in 1993 and crafted the winery’s inaugural Pinot Noir in 2001. Their vision of innovation blending vineyard stewardship with environmental sustainability was recognized in 2006 when Stoller became the first LEED certified winemaking facility in the United States attaining the rare Gold level certification. Today, the winery features panoramic views including Mt. Hood, ample outdoor space for relaxation and guest houses. Stoller is LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon-Safe certified.

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Dan Fredman
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