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A Cellar Chat With Bruce Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars

Image of a barn with green grass and people standing outside of it next to an image of red wine being poured into a decanter, featuring the Cakebread Cellars logo.

Finding ways to properly and sustainably care for our planet has become crucial within the past few decades. As climate change continues to be a part of the environmental conversation, wineries have chosen to adopt innovative practices to lessen their footprint in more ways than one. For this Cellar Chat, we spoke with Bruce Cakebread, President and COO of Cakebread Cellars, to learn how his green-certified winery has been keeping sustainability as part of their philosophy since 1973.

Head shot of Bruce Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars in a wine cellar.

Bruce Cakebread

Since 1973, Cakebread Cellars has been famous for its hospitality, unmatched wines, and enduring commitment to quality. With over 40 years of fine winemaking, it’s easy to see! Today, the second generation of Cakebreads managing the winery, Bruce and Dennis Cakebread, has remained true to its commitment to creating quality wine while also keeping innovation a mainstay within their philosophy.

Alongside Bruce and Dennis Cakebread, Winemaker Julianne Laks and Cellarmaster Brian Lee have been heavily involved in Cakebread Cellars for decades. Julianne and Brian, along with Director of Viticulture Toby Halkovich have been instrumental in enhancing the wine quality at Cakebread Cellars in that time through the adoption of innovative wine growing technologies. These include strategies like night-harvesting to ensure pristine grape condition, whole-cluster pressing of white grapes, and using the traditional French practice of sur lie to produce their rich and creamy Chardonnay.

Landscape image of rows of grape vines, green grass, and mountains.

But that’s not all Cakebread Cellars has been up to. They’ve been innovating their winemaking in other ways to produce the same high-quality wines they are known for, but now to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint on the environment as a green-certified winery with green-certified vineyards that are farmed either organically or sustainably.

Coravin: How is Cakebread Cellars reducing its carbon footprint?

Bruce Cakebread: Since the winery’s first vintage in 1973, sustainability has always been a core commitment of the Cakebread family. This philosophy still guides all of our practices today, ranging from large-scale initiatives like our green parking lot to our bee-friendly farming certification to everyday habits that result in recycling 92% of our total waste. Cakebread Cellars tracks all recycling, energy and water use and continually conducts research on recycling, energy and water conservation.

Our Napa Green Winery Certification encourages us to expand our sustainability efforts beyond our own footprint. We do this by educating our employees to use some of these same practices at home and support other wineries and vineyards to become Napa Green certified. This is how one small local effort can be multiplied over time to create a bigger impact.

A woman inspecting grapes from a vat of dark grapes.

Coravin: In your opinion, what does the future of sustainable and organic wine look like?

Bruce Cakebread: The Napa Valley Vintners have been at the forefront of sustainability in Napa Valley since the Agricultural Preserve established in 1968, which continues today with Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery programs. These are third-party certified programs which promote continual improvement in our sustainability practices in our vineyards and winery. The UC Davis Platinum LEED certified Teaching and Research Winery is one of the best in the world, in which students learn best practices in sustainable winemaking which is critical for the future of grape growing and winemaking. In using these green practices at UC Davis on a research level, it will lead to changes at the day to day winery/cellar level that are more sustainable than current industry standards.

What’s your favorite Cakebread Cellars wine? Have you incorporated more sustainable or organic wines into your selections? Share with us on social by tagging @CakebreadCellars on Instagram or Facebook, @CakebreadWines on Twitter, and @Coravin on all channels!