Whether you drink red or white, go green in the glass this month while social distancing.
Earth Day 2020 is April 22, but for many wineries, earth-friendly practices happen every day. From composting to water conservation and solar energy, more wineries are becoming environmentally conscientious.
And, don’t forget… During the pandemic, many wine shops are delivering and offering curbside pickup (see below), plus check out the springtime #BrilliantPairing recipe!
Jordan is committed to environmental stewardship with numerous green business certifications including the Sonoma Green and Bay Area Green Business Programs, EverGreen Sonoma Clean Power, Sonoma Sustainable, fish-friendly farming, and bee-friendly farming. Its Bordeaux-inspired cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay crafted to honor fine white Burgundy are outstanding in the field. ($30-$65)
This Edna Valley vineyard near the Pacific Ocean was one of the first SIP certified (sustainability in practice) and has maintained eco-friendly efforts including compost, cover crops, minimum organic fertilizers and a water recapture system. Its stainless steel 2018 chardonnay is crisp yet intense and juicy! ($18-$35)
Every wine in this successful winery’s portfolio carries a third party certification of green farming practices. Each certified sustainable, organic and biodynamic vineyard is tended with eco-responsible methods. Musts: Benziger sauvignon blanc, organic reserve pinot noir and chardonnay, and the certified biodynamic estate Oonapais Bordeaux blend. ($12-$40)
This venerable empire founded by Jess Jackson is a pillar of sustainability with practices like wildlife-friendly vineyard design, water conservation and solar energy. Its vast collection includes the higher-end Spire Collection, Stature line, and Jackson Estate wines featuring major varietals grown in the best regions of California. ($9-$90)
This Healdsburg favorite for bubbles is Certified Sustainable and its energy use is carbon neutral. But don’t pass up its myriad chardonnay styles, the zesty pinot gris, and the many luscious pinot noirs. When things reopen, go visit and try the Bubble Room with food pairings. ($18-85)
Tucked in the hillsides of northern California’s Anderson Valley, Domaine Anderson is committed to sustainable practices in each of its vineyards. The estate chardonnay is a bouquet of lemons, citrus flowers and brown sugar; estate pinot noir flaunts raspberry, cinnamon and cranberry notes.
Chenin blanc is South Africa’s most widely planted varietal. This fresh, easy-drinking version offers vibrant flavors of honeyed pear, golden delicious apple and luscious tropical fruit (about $10). Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has made it one of their missions to incorporate sustainability into their infrastructure. Also try the Vinehugger Red (about $15) crafted by Reyneke Wines–organic, natural and biodynamic.
The signature Napa chardonnay grapes grown in cool Carneros result in an incredibly balanced wine with lush fruit and acidity, silky texture and floral aromas—breathtaking! Pair it with nuts, apples, cheese. Check out the virtual tastings schedule and live recipe demos on their website.
BUY WINES: Shop online for store pick-up at Spec’s, Houston Wine Merchant, Austin Wine Merchant (curbside pick-up or delivery); Total Wine & More (online orders for pick-up or delivery but most stores are open). Other sources: Kroger, HEB, Central Market.
Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Bonterra Organic Vineyards
(Yield: 4 servings)
This crispy, creamy salad recipe from Bonterra Organic Vineyards is ideal for a starter or side dish. Pair it with Bonterra’s biodynamic The Roost chardonnay. Optionally, try the rosé and sauvignon blanc.
2 English cucumbers
2 bunches assorted radishes
½ cup full fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Scrub the cucumbers and radishes and thinly slice using a sharp knife. Sprinkle with salt in a mixing bowl and add ice cold water to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes, then drain well. Mix together the yogurt, vinegar, sugar, fresh herbs, and toss with the cucumbers and radishes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Dress just before serving.
Robin Barr Sussman (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.