At least fourteen wineries Oregon have instituted improvements to reduce Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions, including the installation of solar panels, lighting retrofits, tank insulation and in some cases, have gone so far as to use goats, sheep, and raptors instead of lawn-mowers and pesticides. For instance a winery in Eugene, reportedly has trained owls and red-tailed hawks to protect the vineyards from the small birds that like to feed on their grapes.
In 2009 the fourteen wineries in Oregon banded together to create the first industry carbon-reduction program. The “Carbon Neutral Challenge,” a joint project of the Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Wine Board included twenty percent of Oregon’s wines annual production in 2009. In other words, one in five bottles of wine produced in 2009 was produced in a facility that completed the Carbon Neutral Challenge. Each contributing winery accounts for their greenhouse gas emissions and incorporates this information into a carbon inventory tool. The participants must also become part of the Climate Registry.
Over the last year these projects have repeatedly prevented 211 metric tons of methane from being released; the CO2 is equivalent of 9,370 barrels of oil consumed; the annual emissions of 770 cars or the electricity used by 489 homes in one year. For any emissions that remain after all their reduction efforts, the wineries have located verifiable offset projects in the agricultural sector including methane digesters in Oregon, Washington and Idaho through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.