This Sunday is Earth Day, an international celebration of the environment which started in the United States on April 22, 1970. The celebration promotes green environmental practices, and this year's theme is "Mobilize the Earth," directed at earth lovers everywhere frustrated with governments who drag their feet when it comes to preservation and environmental protection. (No doubt some well-organized Zuccotti Parker had already copyrighted Occupy Earth Day.) Many wineries are doing their part, and if you'd like to create your own Earth Day event or attend one near you, check out the official Earth Day Network website at www.earthday.org. Below are just a sampling of wineries giving back to Mother Nature this year. If you know of others, please post them in the comments section.
• Earth Day celebrations abound around the world, especially in wine country. The Napa Earth Day Celebration on Saturday will feature hundreds of exhibitors, including wine booths manned by Clif Family, Sterling, V. Sattui and the Napa Valley Vintners. Following that, the Oxbow Public Market Earth Night Celebration will feature special confections at Kara's Cupcakes to benefit San Francisco's Save the Bay Foundation, Hog Island Oyster Company will donate 10 percent of Earth Night sales to Friends of the Napa River, and plenty of other Oxbow merchants will offer discounts on environmentally friendly foods. The California Central Coast's Earth Day Food & Wine Festival happens this Saturday at Pomar Junction Vineyard, featuring more than 200 Paso Robles area purveyors of sustainably produced wine and food. And many more eco-friendly California wine country events are being held in honor of "Down to Earth" month; view them all at discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e/.
• Trinity Oaks, a Napa-based winery, takes its oaks very seriously. The winery's green program is integral to its mission, and simple enough: one bottle, one tree. The program began in 2008 and puts about 1.5 million trees in the ground every year. According to the company website's tree-o-meter, that is 6,657,816 trees in total, as of today. For Earth Day, they've issued a direct warning to carbon emissions and global warming: "There is no limit to the amount of trees Trinity Oaks will plant." In the vineyards and winery, they aim for sustainable farming, waste reduction, water conservation and energy saving.
• Inspired by its namesake sequoia, Redwood Creek winery has also embarked on a tree-planting effort this month. From now through Arbor Day (April 27), visitors to arborday.org/redwoodcreek can select a forest in which one of 10,000 trees will be planted by Redwood Creek. Another 25,000 trees are being distributed by Redwood Creek to Arbor Day Foundation members across the country this spring.
• Completing the tree-fecta of woodsy-named wineries building forests, Pine Ridge Vineyards relaunched its Buy a Bottle, Plant a Tree program this year. In partnership with the American Forests organization, Pine Ridge will donate $1 to plant a tree, up to $5,000, for every bottle of Chenin Blanc + Viognier purchased from now through June.
• Unfiltered imagines it's always Earth Day in Green Valley, and Sonoma sparkling staple Iron Horse continues its own environmental efforts this year with a new vintage, the third, of its Ocean Reserve bottling. A blanc de blancs, it's a limited-edition cuvée, and for every bottle purchased, Iron Horse donates $4 to the National Geographic Ocean Initiative. The program helps establish protected marine areas and promote sustainable fishing. Iron Horse has always been close to the sea—literally. The vineyards are only 13 miles from the Pacific. So far the Ocean Reserve has raised $56,000.
• Benziger Family, one of Sonoma's more eco-friendly wineries, is hosting a special Earth Day at the Estate biodynamic farming tour and tasting on Saturday, led by Mike Benziger. The winery will also donate 100 percent of Earth Day tasting room profits to Sonoma Valley’s La Luz Center/Vineyard Worker Services.
• Of course, we're always happy to report when wineries increase their commitments to environmental sustainability, and this time of year we hear about a lot of them. A few that came across our desk this week included an Earth Day e-card from Francis Ford Coppola winery today, announcing their two new electric car charging stations, joining neighbors Jarvis, Cade, Benziger, Hall, Clif Family and Inman Family in catering to the juiced auto crowd. And in Italy, Masi Agricola is undergoing a slew of environmental upgrades, from solar panels to recycled packaging material to sustainable vineyard practices, covered at their new website, masigreen.com.