Vineyards in the California wine region of the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
SAN FRANCISCO — Whether you're a fan of red wine or white, California is betting you're going to love "green" too! This April, wine lovers can check out "green" wines at dozens of fun eco-friendly winery events and activities during the third-annual Down to Earth Month in California.
Created by Wine Institute—the association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses—this month-long celebration raises awareness of California's leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. Wineries across the state will engage consumers, policy leaders, media and trade with sustainably focused festivities to learn about California wine's eco-friendly practices and the people and places behind them. From Earth Day festivals and organic wine trails to dog-friendly vineyard hikes, wildlife talks, horseback rides and eco-tours, the state's wineries will highlight what it means to be green this April.
"Our California Sustainable Winegrowing Program leads the world in comprehensiveness and size with wineries and vineyards that produce nearly three-quarters of California's winegrapes and wine participating," said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Our wineries have created engaging events where consumers can learn about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. And once again, a state Senate and Assembly joint resolution proclaiming April as "Down to Earth month in California has been introduced to celebrate the sustainable leadership of our wineries and winegrape growers."
More than 10,000 California winegrowers and winemakers have taken part in educational workshops on sustainable winegrowing and winemaking since the program's inception a decade ago, a remarkable scale of accomplishment as California is the world's fourth-largest wine producer.
If you're going to be in California at this special time, it's a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of "green" wine and food at various events, such as:
Mendocino County wineries are offering the "Party for the Planet 2014" April 18–26, where visitors will enjoy everything from dog hikes and local organic wine and food to beer tastings and lodging specials. From April 1-30 in northern Sonoma County, the Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley offers a customized experience exploring the region's certified organic and certified biodynamic wineries. Napa Valley's Down to Earth with Napa Green Certified Wineries is a fun way to learn about green design, conservation and creative reuse as well as attend related tasting events April 18-20. Learn about more North Coast activities here.
San Luis Obispo County wineries are offering an Earth Day Food & Wine Festival on April 12 with more than 200 growers, vintners and chefs serving local wines and foods with music, dancing and more. Nearby the Taste of Pismo on April 26 will offer local, sustainably grown wine and edibles at Dinosaur Caves Park overlooking the ocean in Pismo Beach.
The Santa Cruz Mountains’ Organic Wine Trail celebrates its earth-friendly wine region with organic wine trails, while the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passport Day boasts many eco-friendly barrel samples and special tasting flights on April 19. Livermore Valley wineries are highlighting “Down to Earth” tours and tastings on April 27, including guided tastings and organically farmed vineyard and winery tours where visitors can learn about energy conservation (some use solar power) and discover sustainable methods for pest, soil and plant management.
Learn how vineyards are sustainably managed and 99% of the byproducts composted, reused or recycled during a Down to Earth Tour at Quady Winery in Madera County. Afterwards, taste award-winning dessert wines and frozen Moscato drinks.
SoCal features several individual events presented by wineries that are among 80-plus around the state that have earned Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status through a third-party certification program launched by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Find out about these eco-focused winery events here!
In addition to sustainability goals, California wine contributes $61.5 billion to the state’s economy, attracts more than 21 million tourists annually, generates 820,000 jobs nationwide of which 330,000 are in California, as vintners and growers keep their farms and wineries family owned for future generations.
California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Code of best practices has been used by 1,800 wineries and vineyards to evaluate the sustainability of their operations, representing 72 percent of California’s winegrape acreage and 74 percent of the state’s wine shipments. Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play vital roles in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible. To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.