California is known for attracting some of the best winemakers, grape growers, and winery operators in the world. California is known as the “Golden State” and it has been a source of inspiration for thousands of winemakers and wineries in California and around the world. California has the highest number of wineries in the entire United States, and in the United States, there are more wineries than any other state.

The California Green Medal is the newest of the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Ruby medals, and was created to honor wine and spirit companies for their environmentally focused practices and overall contribution to the California wine industry. This award recognizes companies for significant achievements in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and recycling and composting programs.

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Larkspur, Calif. – 30. June 20, 2021 – The Wine Institute announced today that O’Neill Vintners & Distillers is the proud recipient of the seventh annual California Sustainable Viticulture Leader Green Medal Award. This award recognizes wineries and vineyards that demonstrate outstanding leadership and commitment to sustainability. O’Neill Vintners & Distillers is not only committed to producing quality grapes and wines, but also to implementing sustainable and socially responsible initiatives that deliver measurable results. They see sustainability as the ultimate expression of their commitment to people, planet and profit.

We are very pleased with this award and the honor from the Wine Institute, said Jeff O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Vintners & Distillers. As a privately held company, we have the opportunity to invest in the future, respond to consumer expectations, and combine the energy of our 300 dedicated employees to accomplish this important mission. Congratulations to the O’Neill team and to this year’s other winners.

O’Neill’s sustainability efforts reflect the importance of green initiatives and environmental justice. They constantly strive to minimize waste, reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. In 2020, O’Neill installed the world’s largest worm-fed BioFiltro wastewater treatment system at Parlier Winery, capable of filtering more than one million gallons of wastewater per day. They have also begun researching regenerative viticulture at O’Neill’s Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles, a three-year comparative research program led by Kane Thompson, director of sustainability at O’Neill Vintners & Distillers. The research will increase biodiversity and minimize environmental impacts, while providing information on regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration practices that others can use.

O’Neill’s commitment also includes employee and community well-being, which is reinforced by a Diversity and Inclusion Statement that supports their mission to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. This mission extends to the entire wine industry and supports the future development of a diverse workforce by offering two four-year college scholarships with board and lodging for the Charles Woodson and O’Neill family scholarships, as well as internship opportunities to further BIPOC representation.

In addition, O’Neal is working with the broader agricultural community to help more than 200 California contract growers, responsible for 15,000 planted acres, achieve sustainability certification. The goal is to grow 100% of its fruit on sustainable farms by the end of 2022, and O’Neill has already reached 85% of that goal.

Our work doesn’t end with this recognition, Jeff O’Neil said. It has only just begun.

The Green Medal Leader award is part of an elite class of recognition and is awarded to a winery or vineyard that has excelled in the three I’s of sustainability. This year the Wine Institute presented awards in four categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Economy. For more information on the 2021 winners and their sustainability efforts, visit greenmedal.org/2021-green-medal-award-winners/.

For more information about the Wine Institute and the seventh annual California Green Medal Awards, visit www.greenmedal.org.

About O’Neill Vintners & Distillers

O’Neill Vintners & Distillers was founded in 2004 by industry veteran and entrepreneur Jeff O’Neill. This vertically integrated winery is one of the fastest growing in California and has a reputation for producing high quality wines on the North Coast, Central Coast and Central Valley. The company’s portfolio of national brands includes Line 39, Robert Hall, Harken, Day Owl Rosé, Game Box, Rabble and Charles Woodson’s Intercept. For more information, see www.ONeillWine.com.

About the Wine Institute

The Wine Institute is a group of approximately 1,000 California wine producers and related businesses that works at the state, federal and international levels to improve conditions for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization strives to improve the economic and environmental health of the state by taking a leadership role in sustainable viticulture and by partnering with Visit California to showcase California’s wine and food offerings and make the state a top tourist destination. The Wine Institute also has an export program for California wines, which account for 95% of U.S. wine exports.

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