Thu, April 02

Bodega Pierce earns sustainable business certification

Bodega Pierce not only makes award-winning wines (their 2018 rosé won the 2019 AZ Central Wine Competition), they make it sustainably. Owner Michael Pierce also leads the Southwest Wine Center, which recently got certified.

Like a lot of wineries, Bodega Pierce focuses on energy efficiency. They have a newer HVAC system and use LED lighting. But Pierce also thinks about the details. “In our tasting room, we serve hard cheeses and meats because they require minimal refrigeration,” he explains.

Transportation matters, since their vineyard is not adjacent to the winery. They lease a truck to haul grapes from Willcox and offer to bring fruit for other wineries at the same time, especially the small operations working out of Four Eight WineWorks. “We never have underweight trucks,” Pierce says.

Green cleaning is also important. They use citric acid and potassium metabisulfite for tank cleaning, while barrels and bottling equipment get steam cleaned. Service ware in the tasting room is all washable so there are no single-use plates or cups for the landfill.

In the vineyard Bodega Pierce works to protect the environment, using organic pest control methods like Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring soil bacteria) for the striped grapeleaf skeletonizer caterpillars which can devastate a vineyard.

Water conservation is a big focus, and once again, Pierce attends to the details. “We are always evaluating water use in vineyard.

My father (who manages the vineyard) noticed that water was being distributed unevenly across vine rows of different lengths, so we installed a system of valves to equalize coverage across all the vines.”

This family business employs former Yavapai College Viticulture & Enology students in the Clarkdale tasting room. Pierce stops by every day to check how things are going, but his team really runs the show.

“I rely heavily on them and trust them, and they know it.” Both tasting room employees turned their ideas into action: One manages the wine club and the other brings in musicians.

How Pierce has time to run a winery, given all his other commitments, is anybody’s guess. In addition to his role as Director of the Yavapai College Viticulture & Enology program, he is active in the Arizona Winegrowers Association as Vice President & Northern Arizona Representative and Legislative Committee Chair.

He also serves on the Board of Yavapai County Farm Bureau, and as a member of the Clarkdale Planning Commission he supports local family business and Dark Skies.

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