There I was, 9000 miles away from home, 10 K into a hike, and 6000 feet high standing over the most beautiful, natural land I had ever seen. Steaming sulfur pools formed in the active volcanic craters on Mount Tongariro (known to Lord of the Rings fans as Mount Doom).  Just days before this hike, I had visited a wind farm, geothermal pools, hydroelectric dams, and landfills all over the North Island of New Zealand. Standing at this point observing the view is where it really hit me: we have a beautiful Earth that needs protecting and it is our duty to practice the best care for the environment.


Mount Tongariro, New Zealand; Photo credit

I followed this ethos during this trip on my semester abroad in Australia and New Zealand.  I studied sustainability and observed the nations themes of waste, water, energy, food, transportation, and biodiversity.  My observations on this trip were expanded through my studies and thinking about the social aspect of our practices, and I wished to apply them in the work world.  This is what led me to my position at Ponte as the sustainability intern.

So, let me introduce myself – my name is Cameron Snyder and I have traveled across the country to work here in California.  I grew up in Greenwich, CT and have been studying in upstate New York at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the past four years.  I recently graduated in May with a degree in Environmental Studies.

This summer I will be working this summer to help assess the winery’s progress so that it can continue to be certified through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a process Ponte began in 2007. With the certification, Ponte ensures the best practices to commit towards a sustainable future.  Along with the assessment process, I will help educate guests and employees about the winery’s sustainable efforts and practices so that they can adopt lifestyle choices.  I will lead green tours of the estate so guests can see the efforts and I will update this blog and share what we are doing.

We all play a part in protecting our environment: individuals, businesses and, yes, even wineries.  What we use, produce and how we choose to live our lives can all potentially take their toll on our surroundings.  If you’re curious, you can check out your own ecofootprint here.  I’ve certainly reflected on my own impact and studied sustainable practices to better my lifestyle choices which can be practiced in the larger scale – and that is how I’ve ended up here at Ponte.

This opportunity was well worth my travels across the country.  I look forward to this work as well as meeting many of you and experiencing sunny California!

–Cameron Snyder