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Green on the Vine

Wines Made With Sustainability in Mind

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here is a look at how several vintners have incorporated—and in some cases pioneered—eco-friendly practices in their winemaking and overall business models. From biodynamic farming and incorporating solar power to composting and hand-picking fruit without any mechanical assistance, each brand is doing its part to lower its carbon footprint.

In addition to a quick look inside each winery’s sustainable practices, we also highlight one of our favorite varietals from their current allotment. Each tempts the taste buds, and each was made while taking copious measures to protect our planet. Cheers!

Donum Estate 2018 Carneros Pinot Noir

Donum Estate works proactively with nature to create an environment where vines are able to thrive. They use organic and biodynamic farming to harness the essence of the land, capturing it perfectly with this flagship pinot, which intoxicates with aromas of sassafras, strawberry, and black cherry before offering bright red fruit and slight earthiness on the palate. $85 at TheDonumEstate.com

Las Moradas Senda 2018         

Las Moradas is inside the SPA 56, a Special Protection Area for birds in Spain. As such, extreme measures to protect the surrounding wildlife are taken. Water is the only cleaning agent used on property, for example. Try this aromatic offering from them, which deftly showcases one of the country’s most beloved grapes: Garnacha, which we call Grenache in the U.S. $21 at LasMoradasDeSanMartin.es

2017 Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon    

Larkmead Vineyards, which has earned “Napa Green Winery” and “Napa Green Land” certifications, practices organic farming, planting native species throughout the estate, restoring a local creek, installing solar panels, flame weeding the vineyard, and more. This cabernet is a love letter to the land, offering blue and black fruits, then dusty tannins, then even cherry candy and rocky minerals, depending on the sip. $125 at Larkmead.com

Mt. Brave Cabernet Franc 2017

To give an idea to this vineyard’s commitment to sustainability, Mt. Brave Winemaker Chris Carpenter is a founding member of Napa’s Slow Food USA chapter, and each grape on property is hand-harvested with very little mechanized modern technology. The Franc reflects the vineyard's rugged sense of place, with concentrated flavors of blue fruit and wet stone. $80 at MtBraveWines.com

2018 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay

This award-winning winery boasts the ground-breaking Floatovoltaic™ system, which is the world’s first floating, grid-connected solar installation. The result? Far Niente is a net-zero user of electricity, which annually produces more energy than it consumes. Famed for many wines, its chardonnay—with its silky palate and notes of toasted vanilla and baking spices—is timeless. $70 at Farniente.com

Alpha Omega Sauvignon Blanc 1155

Double “Napa Green” certified as both a winery and a vineyard, Alpha Omega uses a solar power grid, drip irrigation, and organic weed control—meaning no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides containing chemicals of any kind. Green equals clean, as in an explosion of fresh fruits and refreshing brightness, when it comes to AO’s sensational sauvignon blanc. $80 at AOWinery.com

Ultraviolet Wines Sparkling Rosé

Ultraviolet Wines are made without any additives other than a judicious amount of sulfur. They only work with vineyards farming organically, feature a lighter glass with a lower carbon footprint, and use natural corks which are recyclable and biodegradable. Their Sparkling Rosé is refreshing and floral, with notes of strawberry, raspberry and grapefruit zest. $24.99 at UltraVioletWines.com

Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

The first Napa winery to farm organically in 1988, Frog’s Leap began fully dry-farming in 1989—saving enough water to fill 40 Olympic swimming pools annually—and converted to solar power in 2004. In 2005, they became the first Napa winery to have a LEED Silver certified building, as well. Though all winners, the cabernet stands out for its earthiness and oak. $65 at FrogsLeap.com

2015 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino         

Certified organic since 2016, this legendary local—owned by Massimo Ferragamo of the Ferragamo fashion dynasty—creates its own compost to be used in the vineyard and hand-harvests grapes, among other eco-friendly practices. This Sangiovese has been lauded by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate for its black cherry, plum, dried blackberry, and toasted spice notes. $59.99 at CastiglionDelBosco.com


2019 Black Chicken Zinfandel

Both land and winery green-certified through the Fish Friendly Farming program, Robert Biale composts and plants cover crops to reduce land erosion, and at present is completing the installation of solar panels. The winery's Black Chicken Zinfandel somehow packs aromas and flavors of raspberries, cherries, blackberries, star anise, black and white pepper, cocoa, and subtle nuanced oak into every bottle. $50 at Biale.com

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