Thursday, March 20, 2008

Our Duty to Be Green

Mendocino County recently declared itself "America's Greenest Wine Region." It's a PR campaign, yes, but also an effort to be recognized for the true concern for the environment that people here tend to have. When you move or grow up in a place with such unspoiled beauty, it makes perfect sense that you'd want to keep it that way - for now and for the future. I know we do everything we can to keep our property sustainable and healthy, so we (and future generations of the family) can enjoy it for many years.

Being a new brand, we do have one big advantage because we're starting from scratch. So, to that end, we made the decision this month to go "green" by purchasing only recycled paper, envelopes and wine shippers. Our carrying boxes and tasting room supplies (when the time arrives to purchase these) will also be recyclable and as eco-friendly as possible.

After all, it's not that difficult anymore. It amazed me when I was doing my research and perusing the aisles of the paper goods store that you can now buy paper and other materials that are 100% recycled and look exactly like the products that aren't. The only thing that's different is the sticker on the label that says "recycled." Why wouldn't you spend a few more dollars and do the right thing?

We do understand, however, that being sustainable or green (the two new catch words of the day) extends beyond buying recycled paper. In our vineyard we do implement IPM (integrated pest management), permanent cover crops, organic alternatives to chemicals, and the good common sense to spend enough time in the vineyard to prevent problems before they arise (don't discount it - it's the most important element in this mix).

My personal rant and rave of the day on this topic is about the myriad of articles and comments I've seen about the transformation of the words "green" and "sustainable" into marketing buzz words. I'm not one of those people who immediately gets turned off on these ideas because it's catching on in the industry. If a winery is claiming they're sustainable or green, then they're at least making a few efforts behind the scenes to fulfill that promise. Personally, I think as long as wineries and vineyards are trying, in any way, to be more environmentally responsible, then it's a good thing. We, as consumers, should reward those efforts. After all, buying eco-friendly products off the shelf is a lot easier than giving up your car or banning any and all plastic products from the house.

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