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Think Green - Drink Green

May 13, 2008
There's apple wine, ice wine, corked wine. And yes there is green wine. Not green in color, but green in "good for the environment" green.

I know I know, green is everywhere. But it needs to be everywhere. Green is all about changing your lifestyle to produce less waste and use less resources that damage our environment. So if you are going to enjoy wine, why not enjoy it with Green in mind? I'm not saying drink less, just be green while drinking.

Here's how; drink wine from wineries that are green, use glassware and other wine products that are eco-friendly, and of course recycle those wine bottles.

Because wine is an agricultural product people think wineries are environmentally friendly. What's better for the environment than rows and rows of vines? Surprise. Vineyards can have a negative impact on the surrounding eco-system, from deforestation issues with planting the vines, to run-off water with pesticides, and of course soil erosion. Fortunately, more and more winemakers are taking steps toward sustainable farming and organic practices. Read more about this at www.matchmywine.com. But finding a winery that is Green is not an easy task.

The number of California wineries that have started sustainable practices has increased 24% since 2004 according to a wine industry progress report.

There are a number of Napa Wineries who are "Napa Green" certified. But this only means that they are friendly to fish. Enrollment in the Napa Green program shows a winery's serious commitment to enhancing the watershed and restoring habitats with sustainable agriculture practices. Wineries and landowners receive Napa Green certification by participating in the Fish Friendly Farming program - creating a customized farm plan that addresses all aspects of the vineyard and entire property and outlines practices to achieve soil conservation, water conservation, stable drainage, riparian corridor enhancement, fisheries enhancement and long-term improvement and sustainability.

There is also an organization called the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) which promotes the benefits of sustainable winegrowing practices, enlists industry commitment and assists in implementation of the Sustainable Winegrowing Program. Unfortunately I couldn't find any certification program.

Beringer Vineyards is one of Napa Valley's most historic wineries and is Napa Green certified. They do everything from developing paths for live animals, creating runoff channels so irrigation water runs away from creeks and water sources, using coverstock in-between vines, mulching many of the clippings and skins back into fertilizer, and using lady bugs for insect control and hawks for bird control.

Use products that are eco-friendly like wine glasses and consider bottles with screw tops. Recycle your wine bottles either in your recycling bin or give them to a local, home winemaker. If you find a good resource for old wine bottles let me know. Don't forget to bring your own boxes with you on your wine tours. And bring those reusable bags in with you to the wine shop - all that brown paper bags just gets tossed out in the trash.

So use a recycled wine glass and enjoy some Clos Du Green. It's the right thing to do. Green IS the new Black.
About the Author
Mike Birdsall writes for both http://www.matchmywine.com and http://www.getmyworldgreen.com . He enjoys food and wine pairing and helping the environment. He also owns Birdsall Interactive, an Oakland based web design firm.
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