Grape To Glass Sustainability Stories in Monterey County: Scheid Vineyards & District 7 Wines

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world”  ~ Howard Zinn

Farm to fork…Ocean to fork…and vineyard to glass.  We cast our votes in favor of the planet one bite, one sip at a time. Which is why I am thrilled to be able to share the sustainability story of Scheid Family Wines and District 7 Wines

District 7 Wines is just one of the many distinctive labels included in the Scheid Family Wines portfolio. The vineyards are located in Monterey County in California.

“Al Scheid first saw untapped potential in Monterey County in 1972 when the wine region was in its infancy. What started as a grape growing operation that sold 100% of its production to other wineries today has evolved into a grapes-to-glass family business that crafts authentic and elegant wines.  ~ Scheid Family Wines Website

As consumers we don’t often consider the earth friendly measures that are put into place within beverage businesses, and there are many companies that are continually breaking new ground in this field.   This most certainly includes the wine industry.

I was fortunate enough to connect with Tara Randall from Scheid Family Wines when they were visiting St. Paul, MN for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in June.  Tara was aware of my passion for featuring stories of sustainability and she highlighted the various measures that they have implemented to create marvelous wines in innovative and sustainable ways.  Since my initial communications with her, I have had the opportunity to learn more about their mission and to taste several of the District 7 wines, including: The Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and the Sauvignon Blanc. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.

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Towards the end of this article you will find a low carbon footprint recipe that I created.  I paired the meal with a bottle of District 7 Sauvignon Blanc.  The dinner included an exquisite piece of Skuna Bay Salmon (Click here to read about the Skuna Bay sustainability efforts in my previous blog post)

California has 17 grape crush districts and Monterey County is located in District 7. This area is a windy and cool coastal region that is well known for producing rich and balanced wines.  “For more than 50 years our family and dedicated employees have been sustainably farming the remarkable land” ~ Wine Label Info

 

“Scheid Family Wines began the path to farming and winemaking long ago.  From our start in 1972, we’ve held firm to the belief that growing the highest quality wine grapes and crafting the best wines possible can only be achieved through taking care of our land and our people.  Our commitment to environmental stewardship and equitable treatment of our employees is woven into the fabric of Scheid Family Wines.  The third party certifications that we have earned and the installation of a powerful wind turbine are a reflection of this mindset and our deep commitment to sustainability”  ~ Scheid Vineyards

The Scheid Family owns 12 estate vineyards located along a 70 mile stretch in the Salinas Valley.  Their wine portfolio currently includes five distinguished labels: Scheid Vineyards, District 7, Metz Road, VDR and Stoke’s Ghost.

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The Wind Turbine

Almost exactly 2 years ago, in July of 2017, the Scheid family erected a wind turbine at their winery.  It is located 4 miles south of the town of Greenfield in Monterey County.  The blades reach a height of 396 feet into the sky.  The turbine generates enough power to run the winery and bottling operations.  Additionally, it provides power for 125 local homes with renewable energy!

“It is the ideal power source to utilize the inexhaustable winds of the Salinas Valley and is more effective than solar as wind turbines generate electricity at night and don’t lose efficiency due to dust”  ~Scheid Family Wines literature

Some of the awards and 3rd party certifications that they have earned include:

Scheid Family Wines won the California Green Medal Environment award in 2019.  This award is given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates environmental stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.

“Scheid Family Wines, based in Salinas, California, holds sustainability as a core value. Scheid Family Wines strives for sustainability in the broadest sense of the word every day in all that they do. They installed a wind turbine that provides power to run the entire winery operation plus an additional 125 homes. Skylights were placed in the winery to provide a more pleasant work environment and reduce electricity usage. All the vineyards and the winery are Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE). They recycle and reuse 100% of the grape pomace and wastewater generated in their winery. In the vineyard, they invest in human assisted technology to ease the physical demands of pruning, increase safety, enhance the well-being of their employees and extend their careers. Scheid Family Wines believes that being a leader in the wine industry requires a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and the well-being of their employees and local community” ~ California Green Medal Website

Scheid Family Wines became HACCP (Hazard analysis and critical control points) certified in January 2015.  This certification/international standard demonstrates to consumers that the business is committed to adhering to the most effective requirements for control of food safety while offering the highest quality products.

They became the first Global G.A.P. certified winery in the United States in November 2015.  GAP stands for good agricultural practice.  It is an internationally recognized system that sets standards to ensure safe and sustainable agriculture and ensure product safety, environmental responsibility and the health, safety and welfare of workers.

SIP certification stands for sustainability in practice.  It helps farmers and winemakers demonstrate their dedication to the preservation and protection of both natural and human resources.

BRC (British Retail Consortium)  The BRC global standards are described as some of the most rigorous, internationally accepted standards for food safety.

Scheid Family Wines and the wineries included in their portfolio collaborate with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program

This collaboration includes recipe creation and wine pairings. The Seafood Watch Program “helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean now and for future generations.  Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are best choices or good alternatives, and which ones you should avoid”

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Photos: Grilled Skuna Bay Salmon with crispy tortillas, Fresh sweet corn and mango guacamole served with District 7 Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb Skuna Bay Salmon fillet ( I purchased mine at Kowalski’s Market in Eden Prairie, MN)
  • 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning salt (or your favorite seasoning blend)
  • Kosher salt (*this helps keep the salmon from sticking to the grill)
  • 1 ear of sweet corn
  • 5 of the The Real Coconut Tortillas (these can be purchased online or locally at Lakewinds) Keep the remainder of the package for another use.
  • 1 medium container of pre-made mango guacamole ( You can make homemade if you have time or you can use any type of store bought guacamole that you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime sliced into thin wedges

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high (make sure grill is lightly oiled to prevent the fish from sticking)
  2. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle generously with the chili lime seasoning salt and a large pinch of kosher salt. Do not remove the skin, it helps hold the salmon together when grilling.
  3. Place the salmon skinless side down first. The salmon will begin to release itself when it is ready to be turned (when it is about 60% cooked through).  A 1 inch thick piece of salmon will take approximately 6-10 minutes to cook.
  4. While salmon is cooking, lightly grill the piece of sweet corn ( I grill mine with the husk taken off but this personal preference) and remove when the kernels are golden and beginning to soften just slightly.
  5. When salmon is done cooking, remove and let rest for a few minutes.  It is important to note that the fish will continue to cook for a short time after it is removed from the grill.
  6. While the salmon is resting, lightly grill the tortillas just until faint lines appear. The tortillas will be somewhat crispy (this adds a nice texture to the dish).
  7. Remove the kernals from the cob
  8. Plate the tortillas, top them with equal amounts of the salmon.  Place a spoonful of guacamole on top of each one.  Scatter the grilled corn and chopped cilantro over the tops.  Serve each with a slice of fresh lime.
  9. Pair with District 7 Sauvignon Blanc

This was a fabulous pairing. Almost all of the ingredients were from sustainable companies and/or were purchased by local purveyors.  This could also be termed a zero waste meal in the sense that there was really nothing was left over at the end.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the wonderful sustainability efforts taking place in Monterey County, CA.  I believe it is crucial for us to be as familiar as possible with our farmers/growers no matter what industry they are in. Every time we make a the choice to eat or drink sustainably produced foods and beverages, we take a positive stand for today’s world and for future generations.

District 7 Wines can be purchased at most of the Lunds & Byerly’s Wines and Spirits locations as well as several other stores and restaurants in the Twin Cities.  Click here for the full list.

With the exception of the Salmon recipe/food & wine pairing and wine bottle photos, all of the others were provided by Tara Randall of Scheid Family Wines.  

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