Wines to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day (April 22nd) in the U.S. was yesterday and Dana gave us lots of Earth Day friendly ideas. Over the past five years we have seen an exponential jump in the number of wineries promoting their green credentials. Sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking practices have increased dramatically all over the winemaking world, as well as initiatives to cut CO2 emissions, reduce energy consumption and decrease the carbon footprint.

While, the efforts among wine producers to become more environmentally friendly steadily increases, this is not always so obvious to the consumer. Unless, the producer is fully certified organic or biodynamic he/she cannot put in on the label. As these are fairly costly certification processes, and often producers convert one vineyard at a time, many choose not to pursue certification, but continue to practice their organic or sustainable methods.

Australian producer Banrock Station is one of the pioneers in environmental conservation and has restored a hugely degraded area of natural wetlands and woodlands along the banks of the Murray River in South Australia.

In California several initiatives are in place including the Napa Valley Vintners Napa Green Programs and the Lodi-Woodbridge 'Lodi Rules' program to promote protection of the environment and sustainable winegrowing practices.

Less visible to the wine consumer are the enormous efforts that have gone into reducing transportation carbon emissions, such as switching from air transport to shipping and making better use of railways; and investments in more environmentally packaging including lighter glass and recycled glass as well as glass alternatives.

Here are just a few of the many great wines that came to my mind when thinking about Earth Day:

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2007 Banrock Station Shiraz, South Eastern Australia $8 - Fruity, spicy and smooth. A real easy drinker, for any day of the week

2007 Fetzer Vineyards Bonterra Chardonnay $13 - Organically grown grapes. Lots of creamy green apple, pear and citrus interwoven with vanilla notes.

2007 Grove Mill, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand $25 - In 2006, Grove Mill became New Zealand's first CarbonZero winery. Inviting cherry berry fruit, with notes of cola, nutmeg and toast.

2008 Ca' del Solo Albariño, Monterey, California $20 - From a certified Biodynamic vineyard. We usually associate Albariño with Rías Baixas in Spain. Such is the growing popularity of the grape that it is now being planted in suitable sites in California. Lovely lemony floral notes, refreshing acidity and stone fruit on the palate.

2006 Chateau du Champs des Treilles, Sainte Foy, Bordeaux Blanc (France) $13.99 - Not certified but follows biodynamic principles. While I have reviewed this wine before, I tasted another bottle this week and feel it should be included. Really elegant wine, with great depth and intensity of fruit and a long lingering finish. I tasted another bottle this week (from our house wine stash). The wine has an ethereal elegance, yet it also has great depth and length on the palate.

Until next week, enjoy some environmentally friendly wines.

(Images: Banrock Station)

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Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

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