Eco-conscious consumers have many ways to celebrate with sustainably produced wines during California’s 6th Annual Down to Earth Month in April. California wineries will be offering dozens of sustainability-focused events and activities throughout the month from Earth Day wine festivals, farm-to-glass tours and walks with the winemaker to vineyard hikes, VIP eco-tours and more.
Created by Wine Institute — the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses — Down to Earth Month raises awareness about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) 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. California is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer and the scale and comprehensiveness of the program covering vineyards, wineries and communities is a remarkable accomplishment.
“Consumers care about how their wines are grown and made, and our Down to Earth Month celebration is a way for people to learn about California’s world leadership in sustainable wine growing,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “In a recent survey, members of the wine trade said that they anticipate consumer demand for wines produced with sustainable practices to grow substantially over the next decade.”
The sustainability commitment of California’s vintners and grape growers has been recognized by the California Legislature which has introduced a joint resolution proclaiming April 2017 as “Down to Earth Month” in California.
April’s events are happening throughout California with new ones being added daily at: www.discovercaliforniawines.
On April 22, visit Napa Valley wineries and restaurants and stop by the Earth Day Festival in downtown Napa’s Oxbow Commons. Enjoy local wines and foods, local bands and kids’ activities. Napa Valley Vintners, a sponsor of the event, has committed to having all Napa County wineries 100 percent certified Napa Green by 2020.
Sonoma County Winegrowers are committed to the county’s wines being 100 percent sustainable by 2019. A great way to explore Sonoma wines and green practices is at the Dry Creek Valley Passport Weekend April 28-30. More than 45 wineries are offering themed parties with food and wine pairings, regional chefs and vintners, and vineyard tours that offer a closer look at their winegrowing practices.
In the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, the Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley festival April 23 offers the chance to taste wines from 10 local wineries pouring at Iron Horse Vineyards. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross will discuss the future of food, while Chef Traci Des Jardins will showcase the “Impossible Burger” made entirely of plants. Guests can enjoy a National Geographic food photography exhibit. Proceeds benefit Sustainable Conservation.
About 90 miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area is Lodi, Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Wine Region of the Year. The 2nd Annual Lodi Wine & Food Festival on April 1 provides an opportunity to taste wines from more than 30 wineries, many of which use sustainable practices. Food from local restaurants and caterers, wine pairings, blind wine tastings, olive oil tasting and live music are all part of the day.
The Sierra Foothills wine region offers some of California’s highest elevation vineyards. El Dorado Wine Association’s 26th Annual Passport Event takes place April 22-23 and April 29-30 and is a chance to explore 20 of the region’s wineries, including participants in sustainable wine growing efforts. Guests can sample local wines, buy gifts made by regional artisans and enjoy delicious food tastings.
Central Coast & Santa Cruz Mountains
In the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region, more than 50 wineries will offer special tastings during Passport Day on April 15, one of four times a year when wineries of this region come together to offer their wines. Another area tour is the Organic Wine Trail of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival Grand Tasting on Earth Day April 22 is the largest tasting of Santa Barbara County wines of the year. Wine lovers can celebrate with more than 100 wineries and winemakers, more than 30 food purveyors and chefs, regional artists and more.
San Diego offers the VinDiego Wine and Food Festival, a fun experience with 70 wineries, including many certified sustainable, on April 8. Known as the largest wine tasting in San Diego, the event offers guests a chance to sip among hundreds of California’s finest award-winning wines and enjoy gourmet bites and live music at NTC Liberty Station arts district.
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 15 years ago, is a three-time recipient of 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.
Many wineries and vineyards around the state have also earned CSWA’s Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status with verification by a third-party auditor. Certified wineries will soon be able to include a “CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE” logo on their bottle labels beginning with the 2017 harvest.
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 efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible. To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.