Friday, March 26, 2010

Ten Oregon Wineries Make One Small Change

Inspired both by my dear friend Rachel’s blog, 6512 and Growing, about making “One Small Change” and Willamette Valley Vineyards tweet about their cork-recycling program on Twitter, I decided to take a closer look at the one thing ten Oregon wineries are doing to make a difference in the environment (and the world). Here’s what I uncovered:
  1. Willamette Valley Vineyards - The first winery in the world to use cork certified through the Rainforest Alliance’s Forest Stewardship Council standards and to offer an in-house cork recycling program.
  2. Maysara (Momtazi Vineyards) – Over 250 acres of some of the most well respected certified biodynamic vineyards in Oregon.
  3. Duck Pond Cellars – Plants a tree in a Northwest fire-ravaged forest for every bottle sold in Oregon and Washington during March and April, 2010.
  4. Ponzi Vineyards – Switched to green” glass, which is both lighter and more eco-friendly.
  5. Illahe Vineyards and Winery – In addition to solar panels and rainwater collection systems, during harvest (instead of tractors) you’ll find horses and donkeys pulling grape-loden carts (not only are they bio-fuel propelled, but they produce compost along the way)! 
  6. Belle Pente – Practices Integrated Farming by planting grasses and utilizing sheep and goats for vineyard maintenance and manure mix.
  7. Stoller Vineyards – LEED gold-certified winery with solar power and wastewater reclamation (not to mention a sweet little disc golf course).
  8. Winderlea Winery – Features a charging station in their parking lot for electric cars.
  9. Amity Vineyards - Producer of Eco-Wine, Oregon's first organic and sulfite-free Pinot noir.
  10. Sokol Blosser – In addition to eco-glass, solar power, organic vineyards, biodiesel operated equipment, the first U.S. LEED certified winery, Susan Sokol Blosser continues to set the bar high with her commitment to the environment. So, what’s she doing now? She’s trying to protect and preserve Oregon’s agriculture and economy from the inside by making a political run for Legislature. Good luck Susan!
My inspiration for this post, Rachel, is one of those people who just makes me want to be a better person and a proper steward of my environment. She lives very simply yet meaningfully, is abundantly resourceful and somehow manages to produce a substantial amount of the family’s food supply, which absolutely blows my mind. Her husband Dan hunts elk and deer each year, which they butcher themselves, family-style. Meaning everyone pitches in, even the toddlers help grind and wrap… it’s an amazing sight (click on the link and see for yourself!). Having tasted the fruits of their labor, I can attest to the beauty of the process, but I’m in awe of their abilities as I think this is so beyond what I could do. So, I can’t hunt and butcher my meat myself, I have no sun for a garden (and I wouldn’t think about making my own wine, yet), but I can do something more to make my own small change. I’m already dedicated to buying local as much as humanly possible and I purchase almost all organic products, but when it comes down to it, I’m still just being a consumer… a drain on resources; I don’t actually produce anything (except the words on this page). So, in honor of Rachel and the Oregon wineries committed to being forward thinkers, my one small change is to stop buying one thing each month—be it bread, tortillas, pickles or ricotta cheese—and start making it myself instead. Hopefully I’ll make enough to share… that is, if you’re nice! Until we sip again…



Roaming Family Adventures said...

And this is why I love living in Oregon :)

Anonymous said...

Great research. Sounds like some great things that other wineries could/should emulate.


6512 and growing said...

Oh Tamara, I'm blushing. Thank you and good luck with your One Small Change. I look forward to hearing how it goes (with recipes!).

What wine do you think goes with roadkill deer?

Joshua S. Sweeney said...

Great list! I'm all in support of wineries going green. I'll keep them in mind whenever I visit the wine shop.

Buying local and buying green is certainly doing your part on behalf of the environment. Kudos!

Sip with Me! said...

AJ & Josh, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Great examples for us too!

Rachel, as always, I bow down to you. I hope to continue to learn from your example and hope you continue to share all your crazy roadkill dinner stories with us! By the way, my favorite little wine, Pinot noir goes great with deer (roadkill or otherwise). Stop in at Liquor World by Albertsons, I'm sure they'll hook you up with an affordable little gem!

Joshua, thank you so much for your support!! Please stop by and visit my site often!!

Cindy Anderson said...

And my favorite idea: SPRINGHOUSE CELLAR in the Columbia Gorge uses refillable wine bottles! Borrowing from the growler used for microbrews, but a "gowlier" for wine. Bring yours in each visit and get wine right from the barrel. NO corks, no new bottles -- and MUCH a better size -- 1000 ml instead of 750ml. 33% more!

Sip with Me! said...

Wow, Cindy that's awesome, thanks for sharing the news!! Need to get them under my radar for sure!

Laura said...

Very inspiring reading. Thank you. Good luck with your home creations. I am curious how you will tackle making your own ricotta!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I went to the Better Living Show this weekend and learned a lot about Willamette Valley Vineyards' efforts with Cork ReHarvest and their other sustainable activities. I had always preferred natural cork (those plastic and synthetic closures are tough to open!), but now learning about how it is a recyclable and renewable resource makes me only want to buy wine with natural cork from now on.

I am excited to hear about this green glass wine bottle too.