Wine stains are tough, but you can get it out with just three items.
For Earth Day, five wines that are friendly to the planet and the palate.
A bottle of wine represents an entire year’s worth of work for a winemaker. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the process, from Mother Nature’s wrath in the vineyards to bad barrels in the cellar. When things go awry, and vintners can’t afford to lose an entire year’s worth of work, many manipulate their wines with chemicals and additives to adjust color or flavor. Some manipulate it as standard practice for brand consistency. Not all fermented juice is a pure representation of what grows in the vineyard.
The vineyards themselves often contain chemicals used to combat insects, mold and more. Grapes are like most agriculture products, in that it takes more time, effort and resources to cut the chemicals and farm organically. More and more grape growers, vineyard managers, winemakers and brand owners around the world are not only cleaning up their farming practices, but also committing themselves to producing wines as sustainably as possible.
Tomorrow is Earth Day. To mark the occasion, it seems fitting to acknowledge wines that are made purposefully, with the integrity of the planet in the mind. Wines that are not only better for the earth but that taste better, too. Here are just a few.
5 eco-friendly wines for Earth Day
LifeVine Wines, California and Oregon
LifeVine makes wine from certified organic vineyards. It takes things a step further by sending samples to an accredited analytical chemistry lab where the wine is tested for 213 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins, along with 415 pesticides. The wines from here are vibrant and lively, low in sugar and the producers brag they are keto-friendly.
Try: LifeVine Chardonnay, 2018, $18
A perfect find for Chardonnay lovers who like theirs fresh and tropical, this wine is bright on the palate with flavors that include apple, pineapple and some stone fruit. It’s a perfect summer sipper but also goes well with food.
Girasole Vineyards, Mendocino County, California
Girasole is a second label for Barra of Mendocino; the grapes used to make the wine come from Barra’s vineyards. Founder Charlie Barra planted his first vineyards in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County, in 1955. He often said he farmed organically 30 years before the term existed. Girasole means sunflowers in Italian and is a nod to the flowers that are plentiful at the vineyard. They also make for a striking label.
Try: Girasole Rose, 2020, $15
Just looking at this bottle makes me happy. The color and label are just as pretty as the wine inside, and it’s perfect for the warm temps in Southwest Florida. A rose that is on the dry side, it still has lots of fruit like strawberries, citrus and peach.
Bouchaine Vineyards, Carneros, California
Bouchaine is one of the oldest, continuously family-owned properties in Carneros and a leader in sustainability. When general manager and winemaker Chris Kajani came on board in 2005, she was instrumental in modernizing the cellar and elevating farming practices using fish emulsions to nourish old vines and bird boxes to help with pest control. Bouchaine was the first winery to receive Fish Friendly Certification (2004) and is also Napa Green Certified for its vineyards and winery.
Try: Bouchaine Estate Pinot Noir, 2018, $35
An aromatic wine, this is full of layers of dark berries and red fruits, notably cherry. It even has a touch of cola. It’s big and bright and perfect for food. Bouchaine also makes a small amount of pinot meunier, a grape typically used for blending. It’s savory, with blueberry notes, and it’s a fun find for wine geeks.
Trivento, Mendoza, Argentina
Trivento is a well-known malbec house in Argentina that has wide distribution in the United States. Easy to find and affordable, Trivento is dedicated to sustainability on multiple levels. The healthful environment it’s created stretches beyond practices in the vineyard to include social policies, such as establishing a satellite classroom for their employees to complete their secondary studies.
Try: Trivento Reserve Maximum Red Blend, $10.99
Trivento’s malbecs get much attention, but it also makes this approachable, aromatic blend named after winemaker Maximiliano Ortiz. Maximum is fruity and juicy with black berries, a bit of tobacco and lingering spice. Put a bit of a chill on it before serving.
Hess Collection, Napa, California
“Nurture the land, return what you take.” Those are the words of Hess’s founder, Donald Hess. The winery was among the first to receive a Napa Green Winery certification for both the estate vineyards and the winery. Hess has also partnered with the The National Forest Foundation, creating the Pour One, Plant One program to help rebuild forests. Now through June, sales from each bottle of Hess Select wines contribute towards the planting of 25,000 trees in national forests around the United States.
Try: Hess Collection North Coast Cabernet, 2017, $20
This is a beautiful ruby-red wine with aromas and flavors of red raspberry. The wine has some dark fruit and, from the barrels it’s aged in, there are notes of cedar and vanilla. The tannins are just enough to make a medium-body wine that is a great example of an affordable Napa cabernet.
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