European vintners have been using green practices for ages, and now American wineries are embracing sustainability across the board from viticulture to architecture. Here’s a toast to the red, white and green.
Jordan Winery, Alexander Valley, Healdsburg, Calif.
As one of the leading California sustainable wineries, Jordan has been a member of the Sonoma Green Business Program since the 1990s and continues to utilize the latest technology to effectively reduce, reuse and recycle. Three-quarters of Jordan Estate’s 1,200 acres (complete with two lakes, kitchen gardens and livestock) are natural habitat and a ranch manager works year-around to preserve the sustainability. Jordan Chardonnay is crafted to mirror the finest white Burgundy, and the elegant Cabernet Sauvignon is inspired by Bordeaux. Both classic wines have a high presence in Houston.
Buy it: Spec’s, Houston Wine Merchants, Central Market, Richard’s
Try it: Tony’s, Cafe Annie, Jasper’s, Rainbow Lodge, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappadeaux, Del Frisco’s Grille, La Table, Reef
Benovia, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Besides dry farming, erosion control and water conservation, this boutique winery uses solar energy to power 90 percent of all energy needed for operations. Benovia farms more than 71 acres of vineyards on three incredible sites within Sonoma County and produces small-lot artisan varietals including Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and rosé. They are renowned for award-winning Pinots, including a single vineyard harvested from the legendary certified organic Cohn Vineyard. Winemaker-co-owner Mike Sullivan produces four other Pinots, including the complex and velvety Tilton Hill harvested from the coldest estate vineyard near the Sonoma Coast. This selection causes serious Pinot envy.
Buy it: Memorial Wine Cellar, Houston Wine Merchant
Try it: House of Blues, Ogun Art & Wine, Taste of Texas
Pedernales Cellars, Stonewall, Texas
Specializing in Spanish and Rhône-style wines, Pedernales Cellars is one of only a few Texas wineries with sustainable practices in place. From the natural limestone construction of the winery, to the refurbished barrels, water conservation and natural pest management in the vineyards, the team strives to be stewards of the land. Of the nine or so wines including Roussanne, Tempranillo and several red blends, a favorite is the award-winning Texas Viognier. One of its many vineyards, Stout Vineyard, is planted with Tempranillo and Syrah and is owned by Houstonian and master sommelier Guy Stout.
Buy it: Whole Foods, Total Wine, Houston Wine Merchants
Try it: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Taste of Texas, Sonoma Wine Bar
Galerie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, Calif.
All of the vineyards in the Spire Collection are certified sustainable under the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing. This Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect balance of grassy, lemon zest, green apple and honeydew. Crisp and refreshing, it tastes like the perfect spring day.
Buy it: Spec’s, Houston Wine Merchant
Try it: Hotel Zaza, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Calif.
If you’re a Rhône fan, you’ll love these intriguing wines, winners of the 2016 California Green Medal for Sustainability. Water use, soil and nutrition management, natural pest management, wildlife conservation and energy efficiency are a few of the ambitious ways the winery promotes sustainability. The three core French-style blends available nationally include red blend Espirit de Tablas based on Mouvedre, the Esprit de Tablas Blanc based on Roussane and the Côtes de Tablas based on Grenache. They are all rich, balanced, certified organic and age-able. Twelve other wines are produced in limited quantities available through the wine club/tasting room.
Buy it: Houston Wine Merchant, Total Wine
Try it: Benjy’s, Local Foods, Jasper’s, The Tasting Room, Reef
Niner Wine Estates, Paso Robles, Calif.
Niner wines are produced in a LEED-Certified Winery (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), meaning it has passed strict guidelines for environmental design and construction by the U.S. Green Building Council. The sprawling property also has an estate garden and chicken coop for fresh eggs used in its award-winning restaurant where lunch and pop-up dinners are conducted. The red wines impress – Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Syrah, Malbec and a blend dubbed Fog Catcher are the flagship selections.
Buy it: HEB, Randall’s, Houston Wine Merchant
Try it: Hotel Zaza, Rainbow Lodge
Tom Gore Vineyards, Sonoma County and Central Coast, Calif.
What’s not to love about affordable, easy-drinking wines crafted by a Sonoma grape farmer who pampers the planet? The Sauvignon Blanc is the ideal quaffer and tasty with many spring recipes, while the golden Chardonnay is rounder and richer. Gore also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon. Try his Sonoma-inspired recipe for spring salmon in parchment paper with wine pairing.
Buy it: Spec’s, Kroger, Randall’s
Try it: Hobbit Cafe, Grazia Italian Kitchen, Bombay Brasserie, Hyatt Regency downtown, Hilton Americas
Quivira, Dry Creek Valley, Calif.
From the edible estate garden to honey-producing bee hives, hogs reared on site for house-made charcuterie, chickens and organic and certified biodynamic vineyards, Quivira has long been a protective steward of its land. Specializing in Zinfandel and Rhône varietals, its 140-year old fig tree has been preserved as a landmark and is the namesake of its award-winning Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc.
Buy it: Houston Wine Merchant
Try it: Reef, Benjy’s, or visit the winery and take a tour!