The Huffington Post's Kelly Mitchell recently visited Mendocino Wine Company and toured Parducci Wine Cellars with co-owner Tim Thornhill to discuss innovative water recycling methods, wildlife habitat conservation, and the making of great wine.
The article features an in-depth profile of Thornhill that shows how the combination of his background in ranch work, success as a landscaper, and unique approach to problem-solving resulted in Parducci becoming "the very first carbon neutral winery in the United States to operate on 100% green power."
The winery's huge strides in water conservation are instructive in light of California's continuing drought. After purchasing Parducci in 2004, Thornhill reduced the winery's wastewater pollution by installing filters and "trickle towers," in addition to recycling both leftover machinery and sugar-eating, filamentous fungi (which keep the trickle towers clean). Also key was creating a habitat based on the Everglades, the world's largest natural water filter system, which turned Parducci's former wastewater pond into a certified wildlife habitat. Mendocino Wine Company has received the GEELA Award (California's highest environmental award) three times, and Thornhill is able to recycle 100% of his winery's water at any time.
Thornhill's success comes from a rugged individualism that doesn't believe in the word "can't" and still remembers the lesson of his parents to leave things better than how you found them. Parducci's True Grit line of craft wines (made from 100% Mendocino grapes) perfectly reflects Thornhill's iconoclastic philosophy in the same way the line's boot illustration celebrates the bold determination of the visionary winemakers who planted grapevines here in the 1800s.
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