Far Niente is a small winery in the Napa Valley. It produces about 25,000 cases per year of luxury, estate- bottled Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay on 13 acres. Roughly translated from Italian as “without a care” or “with nothing to do,” Far Niente is actually doing quite a bit to offset its carbon footprint because it now has almost 1,000 photovoltaic panels mounted on 130 pontoons floating in an irrigation pond.
According to a story in the SF Chronicle, Far Niente has a “first-of-its-kind solar power array and the latest example of why Northern California’s wine industry — with its scores of entrepreneurs and mavericks — is a leader in embracing solar power.
“Representatives of the Far Niente winery in Oakville pointed out the unique aspects of a $4.2 million solar venture during a tour Wednesday in advance of today’s ceremonial unveiling of the project.
“In addition to the 994 floating panels, 306 panels are mounted on an acre of land nearby. All told, the water — and land-mounted solar array can produce up to 477 kilowatts at peak output — providing more than 100 percent of Far Niente’s electrical needs.”
This is pretty far out stuff for a winery housed in an historic 1885 building. But because it’s an independent winery, their president, Larry McGuire, said, “If you’re just trying to deal with profitability, certainly short-term profitability, you probably wouldn’t make this decision. But if you’re thinking about long-term profitability — and with a social conscience — that’s where you’ll probably come to the conclusion that this is a good thing.”