Wine Country Blog: innsights to the wine Country


Posted by Meilani Naranjo on October 26, 2013


It is hard to live in the California wine country and not embrace farm-to-table cuisine. If a restaurant does not celebrate the bounty of our Sonoma County farms and farmers it does not last long in this area.  The focus of our chef and the restaurant menu on organic, sustainable, and local purveyors is often more expensive but as the diners continually tell us - it is so worth it. That is only one facet of our approach to becoming more environmentally friendly (and healthier and it tastes better too) and embracing all things green.


Recently Tesla Motors brought up two of their S sedans to offer test drives and we had a charging station installed just to be able to do that. What an exciting day that was!


Farmhouse Inn Tesla Test Drives


You have to see the car to believe it.  One of the Farmhouse employees lucky enough to get a test drive said, "It was like driving a silent rocket." One of our guests who was driving a Tesla told us the only thing he has to put in the car is windshield washing fluid.


Here at Farmhouse Inn we have always paid attention to the environment and continually look for ways to protect it as much as possible.  Now the American Hotel and Lodging Association has integrated the TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders program's eco-friendly requirements as part of its new Green Guidelines. We were excited to apply and just received the following from TripAdvisor:

 "Thank you for applying to the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program, which recognizes hotels and B&Bs
that engage in green practices.
We would like to congratulate you for achieving GreenLeader Platinum status!"

Yay!  And now there is a badge on our TripAdvisor page showing us being part of the program.  Being a luxury hotel and inn sometimes the guests don't understand what we are trying to do.  Part of the program is to educate the guests on our green practices during their stay with us and maybe encourage them to stay at other green hotels in their travels.  We have quite a few greener hotels here in the Wine Country some even Leed Platinum Certified like our friends at the Bardessono over in the Napa Valley and   Leed Gold Certified like the H2 Hotel in Healdsburg. 


One of our long time guests was not happy when we changed to refillable bottles of water in the rooms instead of the plastic bottles of water. But after we explained the reasoning they were thrilled (they originally thought we made the change to cut costs).  Believe me, sterilizing the bottles and filling with filtered water each day is not easier nor cheaper than the plastic bottles of water.  Yes, we do still keep some bottles of water on hand for guests to take in the car with them. But we used to go through 10-15 cases of bottled water a week.  That was at least 350 empty plastic bottles a week...Does that make any sense?

Plastic water bottles


It is extremely helpful that the State of California, Sonoma County, P.G. & E., and even our local garbage service offer so many programs to aid us in being more environmentally friendly.  Your local energy company most likely offers an energy audit service. We took advantage of the service offered through P.G. & E. and they had many energy saving recommendations, changed out our electric meter, and put us into a special program that saves us a lot of money besides being greener. 

Here is a list of just some of the things we have done here at Farmhouse Inn that can apply to any business or residence. It is so helpful that our employees are so very conscious of our efforts also. 

  • Installed energy efficient light bulbs and LED exit signs

  • Implemented HVAC filter replacement program

  • Installed on-demand hot water heaters

  • Turning off lights, HVAC, appliances, etc. when not in use

  • Replacing appliances and office equipment with Energy Star rated equipment

  • Installed solar panels to heat the swimming pool

  • Implemented towel & linen re-use program (and it is not just to save on laundry bills)

  • Recycling and composting program (Reduce/Re-use/Recycle) (do you have any idea how many wine bottles the restaurant recycles each week?)

  • Installed low flow toilets and showers

  • Seek out recycled content in office paper, paper cups, to-go boxes, etc. (even our plastic to-go cups are green)

  • Track water and energy usage (one of the many Bellmen duties)

  • Minimize use of plastic water bottles, etc.

  • Installed vehicle charging station to encourage those electric cars to visit us

  • Minimize use of chemical pesticides in our pest management programs (even Charlotte and Jasper help in their own small way)

    Farmhouse Pest Management Program
                                                   Jasper and Charlotte, aka Farmhouse Pest Managers - hard at work!


But our feeling is we can always do better - we are still finding ways to lessen our impact on this lovely planet we live on. 

Take a look at the Green Guidelines from the AHLA and see how many you can check off.


Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, Tripadvisor, Farmhouse Inn, restaurant, farm, Hotel, charlotte, California, Green, environment

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What would be better than good wine, good company, amazing s’mores, and a cozy fire?  I can’t think of anything else I would want!  Joey and I really enjoyed the nostalgia of roasting and toasting the marshmallows over the fire!  It definitely took me back to my childhood and I had no shame in having two of them!  I couldn’t help it!.continue