Wine consumers’ thoughts turn to “green” this spring during California’s 5th Annual Down to Earth Month in April.
Celebrating California’s world leadership in sustainable winegrowing all month long, wineries will host dozens of sustainability-focused events and activities, from Earth Day wine festivals and horseback rides and hikes though green vineyards to Passport Days, VIP eco-tours, wildlife talks, green wine trails and more.
Created by Wine Institute—the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses—Down to Earth Month raises awareness about California’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program, one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted in the world involving vineyards that grow 70 percent of winegrapes and wineries that produce 80 percent of all California wine, a remarkable accomplishment for the world’s fourth-largest wine producer.
“People are interested in how their wines are grown and made, and our Down to Earth Month celebration is a way for wine consumers to learn about California’s world leadership in sustainable winegrowing. A majority of the state’s wineries and vineyards embrace sustainable practices, reflecting a major trend in California’s wine community.” said Bobby Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute.
A joint resolution by the California Legislature proclaiming April 2016 as “Down to Earth Month” in California has been introduced to celebrate the sustainable leadership of California wineries and winegrape growers.
Here are some of the ways you can join in the fun. More events are being posted at:www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.
In Mendocino—a place of rocky coasts, fog and redwoods—Party for the Planet will be held April 16-25 featuring organic gardening demos, musical performances, organic foods and sustainably-made wines from local purveyors and farmers, and lodging specials.
On April 23, visit world-renown Napa Valley wineries and restaurants, and stop by theEarth Day Festival in Downtown Napa. Enjoy local wines and foods, local bands and kids’ activities. Napa Valley Vintners, a sponsor of the event, has committed to having all wineries 100 percent certified Napa Green by 2020.
Sonoma County Winegrowers has also made a commitment to being 100 percent sustainable by 2019. A great way to see their commitment first hand is at the Dry Creek Valley Passport Weekend April 23-24. More than 45 wineries are offering food and wine tasting, and vineyard tours that offer a closer look at their winegrowing practices.
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area is famous for its scenic beauty, and top-rated restaurants. The Livermore Valley wine region, about 45 minutes east of San Francisco, Gets Down to Earth the weekend of April 22-24 with wineries hosting guided tastings and earth-focused events. Visitors can also take vineyard and winery tours to learn about energy conservation, solar power and sustainable methods for pest, soil and plant management— such as hawks, owls and baby doll sheep.
South in the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region, more than 50 wineries will offer special tastings during its Passport Day on April 16, one of four times a year when wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains come together to offer their wines.
The Sierra Foothills wine region offers some of California’s highest elevation vineyards. El Dorado Wine Association’s 25th Annual Passport Event takes place April 9-10 and April 16-17 and is a chance to explore 20 of the region’s wineries and visit with their winemakers.
On California’s Central Coast, known for dramatic beaches, farms, ranches, the Earth Day Food & Wine Festival on April 23 offers a fun, casual experience with more than 200 growers, vintners and chefs serving local wines and foods with music, dancing and more. This event strives for Zero Waste; last year they generated less than two pounds of trash for over 1,500 visitors!
In Southern California’s Temecula wine region, South Coast Winery will host its annualBlessing of the Vines on April 10. This event includes great wines, a buffet of farm-to-table locally-sourced food and tours through the vineyards.
Or embark on Ponte Estate’s electric bus and tour their 310-acre ranch, then visit their winemaking facility to learn about the art and science of sustainable winemaking, followed by a taste from a giant oak cask.
California Sustainable Winegrowing
California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago, received the governor’s top environmental award for increasing adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in California. More than 2,000 wineries and vineyards in California participate in the CSWA program.
Wineries and vineyards around the state have taken an extra step by earning Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status verified by a third-party auditor through CSWA. 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/sustainable-winegrowing.
Explore all of the Down to Earth Month activities atwww.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e and check out the California Wines Green Tour video.