Green wine is catching on.

Solar panels have become a common sight across wine country. Vintners are realizing that the sun not only ripens their grapes, but provides power to their wineries as well.

Rodney Strong Vineyards installed a 766-kilowatt system, thought to be the largest solar winery array in the world, and it provides 40% of the 600,000 Sonoma County wineries electricity needs. When Domaine Carneros unveiled their 120-kilowatt system it was the first in California to power a winemaking facility instead of offices. Frog’s Leap Winery installed a 160-kilowatt system.

The trend has caught on. The wineries listed here use solar power energy systems to provide electric needs for their winery and other facilities on their estate such as tasting rooms and on-site residences. This website profiles all of California’s solar powered wineries. The lists are long and continue to grow.

The title “America’s Greenest Winery” goes to Parducci Wine Cellars. Parducci is the oldest family-owned winery in Northern California’s Mendocino County. It is the nation’s first carbon neutral winery, powered by 100% solar and wind power.  The annual positive environmental impact of the winery’s 100% green power use is equivalent to:

•    Removing 172 cars from the road for a year, or
•    Planting 242 acres of trees, or
•    Not driving a passenger vehicle 2,171,450 miles.

California’s tax rebates are vital in encouraging businesses to convert to solar power. “With California’s tax rebates and available federal tax breaks, wineries can recoup the initial investments more quickly,” said Mark Mosher, Acting Executive Director for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth.

So as you’re touring California wine country, it’s becoming easier to support the wineries that have invested in their environment by making the switch over to solar. Many of these wineries, like Cade, provide outlets to recharge your electric car, too.