Saving the Land: Flag Hill has always been a proponent of earth-friendly practices. From very early on, the Reinhold family has lived on the land knowing that it is just as important (if not more) to protect it as it is to use the resources on it. Frank Reinhold Sr. instilled this ideaology in his children; when it was beyond his capabilities to continue the farm, he challenged his children to once again make use of the land for agriculture. The current owner, Frank Reinhold, Jr. took on his father’s challenge and started the vineyard. Going one step further, and as part of his father’s wish, Frank Reinhold Jr. and his wife Linda invested 5 years in working with Southeast Land Trust of NH and the Land and Community Heritage Program in securing 114 acres of Flag Hill property as a conservation easement-ensuring that this land will remain open beautiful land (no house/building lots) for all time.
Conserving Energy: As Flag Hill was building the distillery it was very obvious to us that the process of running the still would use a lot of energy. We strive to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. It began as simple as energy saving lights, but it was easy to see that if we invested more money up front with the distillery we could help to save much more energy in the future. The distillery building is a sustainable structure with radiant heat floors and solar thermal roof that harnesses both the sun and excess steam and hot water generated during the production of the distilled spirits. It was designed by Dawn Solar Systems, Inc. By preheating water with the suns energy, we do not need to use as much oil to create the hot steam needed to bring our mashes to 172 degrees (the temperature at which alcohol turns to steam). Using the same system we are also able to divert any excess heated water to the rest of the building for use in our everyday needs. We use no additional heating source to keep the building warm in the winter, as the Dawn Solar system produces all the radiant heat needed to keep the staff and the product comfortably warm through the cold season. And finally, when in use and running multiple batches, all the water used in various parts of the process is recycled through the system so that every ounce of water is utilized to its fullest without having to draw extra from our earth’s ground water supply.
Harnessing Green Energy: In 2011 Flag Hill invested in the installation of photovoltaic cells on the roof of one of our buildings through Dawn Solar. These cells collect solar energy that is sent to PSNH and converted to usable electric energy. Flag Hill continues to look each year to investing in additional photovoltaic cells to continue to add new green energy to the local supply.
Another exciting change Flag Hill made in 2011 was to start using green energy for our electrical needs. Through Glacial Energy’s Green Energy Program we are able to specify that all electricity being used at Flag Hill is being produced by green energy (solar panels, wind turbines, hyrdo-plants, etc).
Buying Local: From grapes, to apples, blueberries and maple syrup – Flag Hill has strived to secure as many of our products as possible from local sources. This of course starts with grapes. With the largest vineyard in the state of NH we are able to produce all our grape wines from the fruit we produce on the property. Our philosophy has always been to showcase wine that can be made from grapes grown in this climate. You can buy wine made from from NY and CA grapes anywhere – but wine made from grapes that are actually grown in NH is much more fun, interesting and unique. While this does mean that you will not find Merlot, Riesling, Cabernet or other such wines at Flag Hill (warm weather grapes will not grow in this region) you will find an abundance of new and delicious varietals that are New England hardy (they like the cold weather).
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Working with Waste Management, Flag Hill recycles all glass and plastic containers (imagine how many glass bottles we go through at a winery!), cardboard and even all paper waste is recycled. We also have a compost pile that a lot of our food trash from our commercial kitchen goes into. We can then use that great fertilizer for our vineyard and landscaping around the property. We also have a good amount of alcohol that comes from the still with each run that does not go into our products (the heads & tails of the run produce alcohols that are either undrinkable or have impurities, so we only use the middle or “heart” of the product in our beverages). Rather than simply throwing this away, we are able to utilize it as a cleaning agent for some of our equipment and tanks.