Upper Valley Recycling

In March 1999, the CIWMB (now known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery or CalRecycle) awarded contracts to two partnerships in the Napa/Sonoma area to demonstrate the effectiveness of mulch on hillside erosion control in vineyards. Both groups spread mulch made from yard trimmings on hillside vineyards in the winter of 2000 and monitored erosion after each major storm event until May 2001. The partnership headed by Upper Valley Recycling, a Napa Valley composting facility, received $80,000 in project funding. This team applied mulch on hillside vineyards between the vine rows to reduce erosion. Members of this partnership provided matching funds in excess of the contract funding.

An article from the August 1999 issue of Wine Business Monthly discusses the studies and the importance of erosion control in hillside vineyards.


  • Develop markets for mulch made from municipal yard trimmings.
  • Increase the use of mulch in agriculture.
  • Create public/private partnerships that will produce meaningful and credible study results.

Partnership Organization

  • Fiscal Agent: Upper Valley Recycling.
  • Contract Manager: Bob Pestoni, Upper Valley Recycling.
  • Key Partners: Upper Valley Recycling, Terra Spase, University of California Cooperative Extension, Edgar & Associates, Inc., Upper Valley Waste Management Agency, Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group, Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, California Refuse Removal Council, Napa County, and Lake County.
  • Participating Vineyards: David Abreu Vineyard Management, Renteria Vineyard Management, Michael Wolf Vineyard Services, Ron Wicker Management, and Domaine Chandon.

Project Components

  1. Partnership Development and Implementation of Work Plan. The partnership team met periodically and developed a detailed work plan for evaluating the use of mulch for erosion control in vineyards. Erosion control was monitored through the spring of 2001.
  2. Development and Dissemination of Information. During the course of the contract, the partnership team developed and disseminated news releases, fact sheets, and other outreach materials.
  3. Coordination of Field Days and Workshops. The partnership conducted at least two field days or workshops while work was in progress and at least one workshop for wine grape growers at the conclusion of the demonstration.
  4. Project Evaluation. Throughout the project, the team evaluated soil loss and changes in the physical properties of the soil.
  5. Submission of Quarterly and Final Reports. Quarterly reports convey project progress while the final report summarizes project protocol and findings.


  • Demonstrate the value of mulch for hillside erosion control in vineyards.
  • Disseminate the results of the demonstration project to wine grape growers in the Napa Valley and throughout California’s wine grape growing regions.