In celebration of Earth Day, we wanted to highlight a winery partner whose commitment to sustainability shines brightly in all they do.  From his days as a young boy working on a Midwest farm, Brian Cunat developed an interest and respect for agriculture and farming that has grown into a life’s passion and a dream. Brian and his wife, Miki, have traveled extensively, touring wineries, walking vineyards and enjoying local cuisines and flavors. Their first visit to the Napa Valley gave real inspiration to their family dream.

In 2007, Brian and his brother John purchased a 50-acre property in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley as an investment. Brian decided to combine his love of wine and his dream of farming by working with an expert team of vineyard managers and winemakers. The property was transformed with Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. In 2014 they completed construction of a state-of-the-art winery capable of producing 150,000 gallons and a beautiful tasting room, Mattera Cunat Family Vineyards.

Roughly translated, Materra means ‘Mother Earth.’ Not a surprising name choice, when you realize their commitment to sustainability. As part of their ongoing efforts to improve sustainability in the winery, they undertook the process of becoming Napa Green certified, and achieved certification in 2017.

The Napa Green program requires facility and practices to meet over 100 criteria, all with an eye to achieve the following goals:

  • Save energy and increase energy efficiency
  • Conserve water and increase water use efficiency
  • Reduce waste through recycling, composting and environmentally preferable purchasing
  • Drawdown greenhouse gas emissions and the winery’s carbon footprint
  • Care for employees, build engagement around sustainability and be good neighbors

Mattera Cunata Family Vineyards is also Fish Friendly Farming Certified since 2021.  Fish Friendly Farming is a certification program for agricultural properties managed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality.  The Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program is run by the California Land Stewardship Institute, a non-profit organization located in Napa County.  Also supporting Mattera’s efforts towards sustainability is the adoption of MCE Deep Green 100% renewable energy service, starting in 2022.

Napa Green Certified Winery
Fish Friendly Farming Certification
MCE Deep Green Energy Certification

As a local resident, choosing a wine club often feels like choosing your favorite child or dog.  My love of Materra’s incredible wines (my favorites include the Viognier, Midnight and Right Bank) paired with their efforts to protect Mother Earth truly made it an easy choice.  Their commitment to sustainability runs so deep, their most recent Club Member event ‘Wild Winery Lunch’ featured rescued wildlife, from Conservation Ambassadors. I was lucky to attend this event and was treated to encounters with a baby kangaroo, alligator, owl, raven, fruit bat, possum, king snake, sloth and lemur!  It was a day like no other!

Conservation Ambassadors mission is to “Give a worldwide voice to wildlife by providing a permanent, loving home for displaced, abused, abandoned, or permanently injured wild and exotic animals. Sharing these animal ambassadors helps us educate learners of all ages about conservation, connecting them to the wild world and inspiring them to protect the planet.”  The life work of David & Lisa Jackson is admirable and the education they provide is invaluable.  I felt honored to be a part of this event and witness the incredible work they do.  So thankful to Mattera for bringing them to Napa Valley to share their message of conservation.  Equally thankful to David & Lisa for their dedication and commitment to the wild animal community.

Be sure to visit Materra Cunat Family Vineyards on your next visit to Napa Valley.  Tastings are available daily and can be reserved on Tock or by calling 707-224-4900.  If you make the wise decision to become a Dean’s List member, maybe I will see you at the next Wild Winery Lunch.  You will know it’s me, as I will have a glass of Viognier in my hand and a raven on my shoulder!  Cheers!