Chateau Bianca and the Wetzel Estate brands are owned by the Wetzel family. Our family has been in the wine business for four generations. Originally from Germany, the families winemaking began in the world renowned Franken region located in northern Bavaria. The family, now living in Oregon, has been involved in the Oregon wine industry since the mid-1970’s and has watched the industry grow in size and status.
Our family has developed an initiative to pursue a sustainable business model. In 2005 we converted all estate vineyards from conventional management to organic. In 2011 we pursued certification from L.I.V.E., an industry standard based on low input viticulture and enological practices. All efforts are made to be good stewards of the land by managing the vineyard and estate with environmentally friendly inputs. We use cover crops to put natural nutrients into the soil rather than synthetically produced product. Cover crops also help to retain moisture and prevent erosion on our steep hillside slopes.
To further this program of sustainability the winery has always been an avid recycler. We use all our harvest by-products by turning this material into compost for use in the vineyard. The winery makes weekly trips to recycle all cardboard, glass, office paper and plastics to a local recycling facility.
In 2011 we became the proud owners of a 10 KW solar array built on the roof of the winery building. The solar array will provide the winery with 80-90% of all the electricity it uses. We are also in the process of trying to obtain electric car charging stations for traveler’s headed to the Oregon coast. The pedestal charging units allow owners of electric cars to get a boost charge on their vehicles when travelling from the Portland and Eugene areas to the Oregon coast.
In the winery we have used special reflective insulation for years on our stainless steel tanks to help maintain temperature control for both heating and chilling of the wine within. This has been determined to be one area on the production side of all wineries where the largest amount of electricity is used and lost when tanks are not properly insulated. We recently had all our offices, tasting room, and production areas converted to more efficient lighting systems to further reduce our electricity usage.