California Wine Tours Becomes Bay Area Green Business

Posted on September 1, 2009

The chauffeured transportation company becomes the first one in the Bay Area to be officially certified green.

SAN FRANCISCO - Sonoma/Napa based California Wine Tours has increased its green profile to the point where it can help lead other businesses to clean up their operations.

A combination of staff training and aggressive reduce, reuse, and recycle programs has enabled California Wine Tours to become carbon neutral at all of its facilities and create programs to decrease the carbon footprint of its business operation.

Through its business entities, California Wine Tours moves more than 500,000 passengers each year in the Bay Area which equates to taking thousands of individual cars off the road. These passengers include wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, corporate guests attending company meetings, children attending school field trips, people going to/from the area's airports, or guests attending a sporting event, concert or wedding.

California Wine Tours owner Mike Marino considered it important that his company looked at its carbon footprint and created programs to reduce its impact.

"We plan on meeting this goal through a constant track of improvements to find alternative fuel sources, reduce pollution, and make our business dedicated to sustainability," Marino said.

In the next 12 months, Marino expects to reduce operating costs by at least 15% through energy efficiency, reduction of waste, and streamlined office practices.

"After researching the program, I realized this is just good business sense and it also gives us a chance to make a difference on our planet," Marino said.

Some highlights of California Wine Tours green business commitment include:

  • Participation in the Bay Area Air Quality Program and daily updates to all employees on the Spare the Air status.  
  • After energy efficiency upgrades were completed, all buildings are now carbon neutral through PG&E's Climate Smart program.
  • Use of alternative and green fuels for all applicable vehicles in its fleet.
  • Hybrid vehicles such as Prius sedans and Lexus SUV available for charter.
  • Goal of 80% diversion of all waste away from land fills. There are dedicated waste coordinators at our site that sort all waste into the appropriate dumpsters or recycling containers.
  • Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy mandates the use of products made with recycled content, reduced packaging and locally sourced.
  • Continued industry leadership regarding social equity for its employees and the local community. California Wine Tours offers medical/dental benefits and a 401K plan to all its employees and drivers - a rarity in the transportation business.
  • California Wine Tours supports the local community by providing transportation for many local charity events and donating vehicles to local non-profits for use to assist those in need.
  • Conserving water through low flow outlets and water efficiency training for all staff.
  • Continuing education for all staff on green business best practices and assistance with living a greener life at home.

The Bay Area Green Business Program has certified more than 1,800 local businesses that have complied with the high standards of the program. "I have worked with several certification programs and have found the Bay Area Green Business program to be very comprehensive and transparent," said Mimi Gatens, director of sustainability for California Wine Tours. To maintain the certification, California Wine Tours must demonstrate measurable improvements in all areas over the next three years.

For more information on California Wine Tours.

For more info on the Bay Area Green Business programs and a list of other participating businesses, visit http://www.greenbiz.ca.gov/.

About California Wine Tours

For over a quarter century, California Wine Tours has provided wine country transportation. Mike Marino started the company in 1986 with the purchase of one limo. His commitment to hiring top notch and experienced drivers combined with the luxurious, highest quality vehicles has made California Wine Tours the largest transportation fleet in Northern California. As a full service transportation company, they can accommodate groups of any size.

California Wine Tours operates sedans, SUV's, limousines, luxury limo vans, mini-buses, motor coaches and environmentally friendly vehicles, and the Evans Airport Shuttles from Oakland and San Francisco Airports to/from Napa and Vallejo. California Wine Tours is also reducing the carbon footprint of the SF 49ers with the operation of fan shuttles from seven North Bay cities direct to Candlestick Park.

Related Topics: emissions reduction, green initiatives, green marketing, green regulation, recycling, reducing carbon footprint

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