It’s like our favorite bedtime story: Once upon a time, there was an eco-friendly winery that grew organic grapes in a certified organic vineyard, producing tasty, organic wines. And, we all lived happily ever after. But we know better than that. We know that wine is more than just a beverage; it’s an experience, one that winemakers and others have taken into account in developing sustainable practices and things to do, going beyond the organic grape. Below are four of the coolest eco-friendly, wine-related initiatives we’ve come across, from wine storage products, to rafting cruises, to socially responsible sweepstakes.
Anyone who’s been through college is familiar with the kegerator. But, now that you’re all grown up, imagine having one for wine. That’s what the inventors of Silvertap had in mind when they created these “wine from the tap” kegs. Pretty awesome, right? What’s more, these kegs are green: Serving wine from the tap—especially in by-the-glass-centric environments like restaurants—significantly reduces glass production, waste and costs by eliminating the bottling process.
Known as “the first vineyard in Santa Barbara County… to receive all 3 certifications—sustainability in practice, organic and biodynamic,” ampelos Cellars is one of our favorite triple threats. But it’s the sustainability in practice that really catches our eyes. Since 1999, owners Peter and Rebecca Work have implemented a laundry list of practices to make their business one of the most socially responsible in the U.S. From the complete eradication of bottled water, to planting fava beans and sweet peas as cover crop and natural homes for friendly insects, to solar-powering their own home, ampelos Cellars has our attention for (a long, sustainable) life.
For nearly 33 years, self-described “Adventure Travel Company” Row Adventures has offered up a plethora of bold trip options. One of them, Rouge River Rafting through Oregon, has recently jumped onto the wine lover's bandwagon with its Gourmet Food & Wine Departure, in which the tour guide/oarsman is also a chef. Chef Matt Morse treats rowers to a specially prepared meal with local roots, paired with appropriately regional wines. Adventurers, locavores and foodies: Unite!
Earlier this year, we shared the Frei Brothers Reserve sustainability practices. Frei has taken their sustainability practises even further with new eco-friendlier bottles and corks that cut down on glass usage and use only a tree’s bark, respectively. Even better, the folks at Frei let their eco-friendliest fans know how grateful they are for their loyalty and small carbon footprint with a Green Bike Giveaway. In April, one lucky wine enthusiast won a bicycle boasting “sustainable cork handles” and a “hand-crafted crate made of 100% reclaimed wood.” We’ll drink to that.
This article was updated June 4, 2012.