How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day? Planting a tree? Improving the habitat for herds of an endangered iconic animal? Saving the bees? Restoring aquaculture? By uncorking a bottle of one of these wines, you can do all that and more.
The Dreaming Tree
The California collaboration between musician Dave Matthews and co-winemaker Sean McKenzie has always had a focus on sustainability, having donated more than a million dollars to environmental organizations over the years and been recognized as a Certified California Sustainable WineGrowing winery. Staff implements environmental and socially equitable business practices including solar energy, recycling, reducing their carbon footprint and making sure wines are eco-conscious from the vines to the table (labels are made from 100% recycled paper, and bottles weigh a quarter of a pound less than standard wine bottles, reducing the amount of fuel needed to transport them). Their latest endeavor is their first “Buy a Bottle, Plant One Tree” program. From Sunday, April 15 through Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, environmental conservation partner Living Lands & Waters (which protects, preserves and restores major rivers and watersheds in the United States) will plant one tree for every bottle of wine sold, with a goal of planting up to 80,000 trees. “The Dreaming Tree is all about a sense of community between one another, and doing what we think is right for the planet,” says McKenzie. “We hope that The Dreaming Tree’s sustainability efforts serve as a conversation starter for small but easy steps we all can take towards bettering the planet.”
Wine to Try: 2016 The Dreaming Tree Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($15), a stainless steel-fermented wine with juicy notes of passion fruit, kiwi, grapefruit and lime.
Since 1989, the owners of this Napa Valley winery, the Hall family, have been considered multi-generational stewards of the Northern California they tend. They have turned more than 800 acres into protected agricultural land to prevent overdevelopment in the area, and help maintain water quality, mitigate erosion and restore riparian vegetation. “We live by our motto of ‘Excellence through Responsible Farming,’ [a] philosophy [that] translates to all aspects of our work with grapes and wine but also our olives, olive oil, beef, lamb, eggs, fruits and vegetables which we serve at our Restaurant at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch,” says proprietor and COO Chris Hall. “I feel strongly that it is our duty as vintners and farmers to lead the way to agricultural and environmental sustainability.”
Wine to Try: 2017 Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir ($25). Bright pink in the glass, it touts aromas of peaches and strawberries, a mouthwatering palate of strawberries, stone fruits, flowers and spice and a zesty finish.
This California winery supports the Wildlife Conservation Society and American Bison Society in their efforts to restore the natural habitats of bison and reintroduce them to healthy environments. Every year they donate funds that are earmarked for these initiatives, and their commitment can even be seen on the bison logo proudly displayed on every bottle. “The American Bison is America’s national mammal, and it’s important to us to contribute to the restoration and preservation of this symbolic animal,” explains winemaker Bob Blue. “1000 Stories is focused on pioneering and elevating the American spirit and its heritage..and we like to pay our respects to the land in more ways than one.”
Wine to Try: 2016 1,000 Stories Zinfandel Batch #42 ($18.99), sourced from some of the best zin vineyards in Mendocino County and aged in Bourbon barrels from Kentucky, which coax out dark fruit, ample tannins, baking spices, red licorice and black pepper notes.
Berlin Kelly founded this winery in 2014 to connect her passion for food and wine with her concern for the environment and sustainability. Every time you buy a bottle of their North Coast Sauvignon Blanc, a hundred wild oysters are restored to local waters which will help filter 3,000 gallons of water every day, protect coastlines from erosion and provide a home for fish, crabs and shrimp. More of a red fan? Buy their Oregon Pinot Noir, and 875 wildflowers will be planted, providing 90 square feet of habitat and forage to help the more than 3,6000 native bee species that pollinate the food we eat and whose colonies have been collapsing at an alarming rate.
Wine to Try: 2015 Proud Pour Oregon Pinot Noir ($17), a red that’s drinkable now through 2019 and teems with earthiness, red plum, rhubarb, vanilla and silky tannins.