Travel Spotlight

Going Green: Cade Winery

San Francisco

’s former mayor Gavin Newsom is well-known for his environmentally conscious policies, which have turned the City by the Bay into one of the country’s greenest: there’s a recycling rate of 70 percent (the highest in the nation) and a citywide ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam, and Newsom had more than 25,000 trees planted while in office. It’s no wonder, then, that this eco-politician who regularly writes about green issues on The Huffington Post, was a key player when it came to conceiving Cade, one of Napa’s greenest wineries.

Seemingly suspended between rolling hillside and open sky, Cade occupies a breathtaking location high on Howell Mountain that offers views of the valley floor and beyond. The property itself sprawls across 54 lush acres, but some 60 percent of its evergreen forests and blooming meadows were left untouched; the rest is planted with neat rows of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, all farmed organically. The winery is the brainchild of the team behind Plumpjack, the successful brand founded by Newsom and Gordon Getty in the early 1990s. From conception, the team wanted to qualify for LEED standards, a voluntary certification that serves as the international benchmark for environmentally friendly architecture.

The group’s third partner, vintner John Conover, says that completing Cade was a dream come true as well as a learning experience for the entire valley. “One of the major criteria to meet is the use of recycled materials,” he explains when asked to cite a highlight of the building process. “When I first approached our local contractor about ‘green concrete,’ which is made with fly ash, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. But when I came back to him with a list of the components necessary, he produced it for us. He was very proud; it was a first in Napa.”

The use of recycled materials is just one of many cool eco-details at Cade. The 35,000 square feet of solar panels lining the roof of the winery produce more energy than is actually needed for nine months out of the year (and which feeds directly back into the St. Helena grid); the caves’ temperature is controlled naturally, thanks to radiant flooring (about four times more efficient than cooling with air); and the sleek table in the barrel tasting room was made of steel salvaged from a submarine from the local Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

Best of all, however, is the beauty of the wild expanses surrounding the modern tasting room and its stunning terrace, both places where you can wile away an afternoon sipping Cade vintages. Regular tasting are by appointment only, but they may be the best value in the valley. “We wanted the winery to be really accessible,” says Conover. “There’s been a lot of interest in green businesses, which I find so encouraging when looking to the future.” Of course, when visiting the state-of-the-art Cade, one cannot help but think that the future is now.

Getting There


 is located a scenic 15-minute drive from St. Helena.

Published onJanuary 30, 2014

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