Earth Day may have passed but efforts within the wine industry to champion practices from within the vineyard right up to when the wine is poured into your glass should be year-round. As wine enthusiasts become increasingly aware of the impact of climate change on the environment, there is a growing interest in wineries that prioritize sustainable and eco-friendly practices in winemaking. From organic and biodynamic farming techniques to renewable energy and eco-friendly packaging, here are some of our favorite wineries leading the way in creating high-quality wines while reducing their environmental impact, and promoting social sustainability within our communities as well.
Yalumba – Barossa, Australia
Yalumba, one of Australia’s oldest family-owned wineries, has been producing wine since 1849. The winery is a pioneer of sustainable winemaking, and in 2011, it became the first winery in Australia to be certified carbon neutral. The vineyards are managed with a focus on biodiversity and soil health, and the winery has implemented a range of renewable energy and water conservation measures, such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and natural irrigation. Yalumba is signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, which aims, among other things, to have 100% of packaging in Australia be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025, and are also a member of the Wine Industry Sustainable Packaging Alliance (WISPA), and International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA). Yalumba’s wines are vegan-friendly, and the winery has received numerous awards for its sustainability practices, including the 2017 Green Company of the Year at the Drinks Business Green Awards.
Wine to try: Yalumba Y Series Shiraz-Viognier, South Australia, $13
Your new house red! Lip-smacking and easy-drinking. On the label, you’ll also find imagery of fungi, a nod to how important they are to our ecosystem, contributing to soil health by breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the earth. Buy it HERE.
Benziger Family Winery – Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, California
As a leader in green farming for over 25 years, and the first winery in Sonoma (and Napa) to become Biodynamic certified, this family-owned winery in Sonoma County, California, that has been at the forefront of sustainable winemaking for decades. The vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic, and the team employs eco-friendly practices, such as cover cropping, composting, and natural pest control, to maintain the health of the soil and the grapes. Benziger’s wines are made using natural yeasts and minimal intervention techniques, such as handpicking and barrel fermentation, to express the terroir of the vineyards. In addition to sustainable farming, Benziger is also committed to eco-friendly packaging. The winery uses lightweight glass bottles that require less energy to produce and transport, and its labels are made from recycled paper.
Wine to try: Benziger Family Winery 2021 West Rows Chardonnay, Los Carneros, CA, $37
The Sangiacomo West Rows are in the “sweet spot” of Los Carneros, an ideal location to nurture Chardonnay. This certified organic selection is both vibrant and luxurious with fresh apple, citrus, and stone fruit giving way to tropical fruit and Bavarian cream. Buy it HERE.
Benovia Winery – Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California
Benovia is a small, family-owned winery in the heart of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. The winery is committed to sustainable farming practices and uses a combination of organic and biodynamic methods to grow their grapes, which are planted at a higher density than most Northern California vineyards. This approach encourages the vines to live in a much smaller footprint, thereby consuming less fertilizer and water. The winery also has a solar power system that provides 80% of its energy needs.
Wine to try: Benovia Winery 2019 Cohn Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA, $85
This is the flagship wine from Benovia’s oldest vineyard that pre-dates most other Russian River plantings by about 20 years. The old vines are farmed organically and with minimal irrigation, yielding just over one ton per acre. The resulting wine is a study in intensity of fruit, herbs, and savory notes matched only by elegance. Buy it HERE.
Inglenook – Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
One of the most historic and sustainably focused wineries in the Napa Valley, Inglenook, founded in 1879, is the largest contiguous estate on Napa Valley’s famed Rutherford Bench. Inglenook has been farming organically since the 1980’s and was among the first Napa estates to be certified organic in 1994. Always the early adopters, they’ve had a fleet of electric cars since 2011. Their new winery cave was built with low CO2 concrete, which naturally maintains a cool temperature to conserve energy, and the team uses high pressure steam to clean the barrels to conserve considerable water. Inglenook is committed to diversifying from the monoculture of grapes, maintaining and supporting other cultures via mindful fallow periods when replanting vineyard blocks, and creating green spaces with fruit trees, gardens, and flowers to support fauna and hedgerows to provide habitat for beneficial insects. Inglenook also promotes a diversity of cover crops, with the goal of preserving a rich, microbial life in the soil.
Wine to try: Inglenook 2020 Blancaneaux, Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA, $72
This blend of organically farmed Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne was aged for eight months on its lees in a mix of stainless steel and French oak, a small percentage of which was new. It’s a heady, layered wine with pear, peach, lemon curd and honeysuckle giving way to chamomile and ripe apricot on the finish. Buy it HERE.
Bricoleur Vineyards – Windsor, Sonoma County, California
Bricoleur is proud to be a certified California Sustainable vineyard thanks to their practices of soil preservation, water conservation, and low energy use. In fact, they have 260 solar panels on the roof of their Winery Barn. They are saving 52.3 metric tons of CO2 emissions – enough to power 11 homes. The winery employs organic and biodynamic methods to manage its vineyards and uses natural pest control techniques, such as owl boxes and beneficial insect habitats, and keep honey bees and chickens as well as on-site gardens of heirloom tomatoes, vegetables, and olive trees from which they press their own oil.
Wine to try: Flying by the Seat of Our Pants Brut, North Coast, CA, $50
Don’t let the lighthearted name fool you – this is a serious sparkler! A blend of North Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aged en tirage for 12 months, resulting in a deep complexity with plenty of fruit as well as delicious toasty notes and a creamy finish. Buy it HERE.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery — Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California
This iconic Healdsburg winery is so much more than the timeless, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay that they produce. They are also the poster child for sustainability efforts. Their estate pollinator sanctuary – one of, if not the, largest in the country – is home to over 40 species of bees, butterflies, and native plant species that provide food and habitat for pollinators throughout the year. The project supports the ecosystem, improves soil health, and promotes biodiversity. Jordan also uses cover crops to promote soil health and reduce erosion, water-efficient practices, and solar panels to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Wine to try: Jordan Vineyard & Winery 2021 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, CA, $42. Buy it HERE.
Close your eyes and you could very well be in Burgundy. The 2021 Jordan Chardonnay represents a nod to the evolution of Jordan’s chardonnay program led by winemaker Maggie Kruse, showcasing the introduction of cooler-climate vineyard sites in the western Russian River Valley. This wine represents an absolute mastery of subtle oak integration, tension and acidity, and a kaleidoscope of citrus and fresh fruit aromas.
Ramón Bilbao – La Rioja, Spain
This Spanish producer is constantly reevaluating and strengthening their approach to sustainability goals and act as a leader in climate change response. The winery recently developed a framework with five pillars to achieve new levels of environmental sustainability by 2025: Increase water management; Use 100% renewable energy; Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy and more efficient machinery; Facilitate reduction in water waste through new treatment plant construction; and Host an ecological vineyard that uses organic fertilizers and precision viticulture technologies, including smart irrigation, weather stations, and drones.
Wine to try: Ramon Bilbao Crianza 2019 (SRP: $17)
An early 2019 harvest following a cold and rainy winter, cool spring and hot summer was countered by applying Precision Viticulture. Thanks to these technological tools, the winery was able to undergo a segmented harvest respecting each plot precisely ripening point and thus obtaining a 100% Tempranillo wine with a clean and perfumed nose, highly concentrated in red and black fruits and with a pleasant acidity and a fresh profile.
Bodega Trivento – Mendoza, Argentina
One of Argetina’s top selling wine brands, Bodega Trivento is a B-Corp certified winery that implements rigorous standards of sustainability within its vineyards, cellars, workforce and community—a triumph for a wine brand operating at this scale. They were the first winery to introduce a satellite secondary school on the estate for part-time attendance with the full backing of the Office of Mendoza Schools. The goal is to allow all collaborators who work at Trivento the ability to complete their school studies while also working at the winery. Other sustainability efforts include a Water Use Management program for reduced water usage, a “Clean In Place” cleaning system for washing the filling equipment and tanks, the establishment of the largest private photovoltaic plant in the Argentinian wine industry and more. Instead of wasteful paper bottlenecks, each bottle of Trivento Reserve provides a QR code for Wine Compass, a proprietary digital platform that details technical information as well as the story of each wine
Wine to try: Trivento 2021 Reserve Malbec, Mendoza, AR, $11
Representative of Trivento’s sustainability measures, the vegan-certified 2021 Trivento Reserve Malbec ($11) is sourced primarily from the winery’s estate vines and sourced primarily from the winery’s estate vines. This is a delicious, fruit-forward Malbec rounded out by pleasant vanilla and sweet spice notes from oak. The perfect mid-week dinner wine. Buy it HERE.
Bryn Mawr Vineyards – Willamette Valley, Oregon
This small, Willamette Valley winery’s sustainability efforts touch all aspects of their business. Vineyard manager Rachel Rose works with Buzz Seeds in Philomath, Oregon to source organic and diverse cover crops for the LIVE certified vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Where other vineyard managers might cultivate, Rose chooses not to till to promote decreased soil erosion and retention of organic matter in the soil. Further, Rose doesn’t just consider pollinators; the winery also features rock piles for snakes and houses for owls to help mitigate vineyard pests. In the winery, Rose utilizes steam cleaning and sanitation, a chemical free technique that conserves water. Wines are bottled in domestically produced glass, and in 2016 Bryn Mawr transitioned to eco-glass bottles, which use 25% less glass than standard wine bottles. They stopped using tin capsules in 2020, and wines are sealed with DIAM corks, because screw caps are not recyclable in many areas. Bryn Mawr is trialing DIAM’s new Origine line, which utilizes beeswax and plant-derived polyols to seal the corks, eliminating the use of glue.
Wine to try: Bryn Mawr Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR, $30
A stunning example of classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. This is a lighter style that still offers plenty of concentration of fruit, earth, and spice, as well as bright acidity to prolong the complex finish. A total steal at $30 a bottle. Buy it HERE.
La Crema – Windsor, Sonoma County, California
Certified under the California Wine Institute Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s program, La Crema is dedicated to crafting their wines in the most eco-friendly way possible. From their vineyards to their tasting rooms, they minimize their environmental impact and carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, practicing water conservation, and minimizing waste. By instituting a zero-waste initiative, almost 99% of the waste they produce is diverted from the landfill to be composted as pomace and returned to the vineyard. La Crema also invites to explore and celebrate these efforts through themed experiences and an annual program of Earth-Day related events, including this year’s launch of their Best of the Vine Estate Tour, which offers guests the opportunity to Explore private areas of their historic estate, get up close and personal with the vineyards, discover their leading sustainability practices, and, of course, taste wines exclusively reserved for estate guests.
Wine to Try: La Crema Russian River Valley Brut Rosé, Sonoma, CA, $45
Pinot Noir dominates this cuvee with 27% Chardonnay individually whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks before being blended and spending two years en tirage. Winemaker Jennifer Walsh highlights the intense aromas of white flowers, Braeburn apple and crushed oyster shell, with lemon meringue, strawberry, and ginger on the palate. Buy it HERE.
Champagne Henriot – Champagne, France
Henriot may be one of the oldest Champagne Houses, but their approach to eco-friendly and sustainable practices is as modern and forward-thinking as it gets. Under the leadership of Cellar Master Alice Tétienne, the House has launched the Alliance Terroir project, which promotes the preservation of Champagne vineyards and contributes to initiatives that protect and enhance Champagne in the context of global climate warming. Through Alice’s vision and leadership, Henriot ensures that their sustainability efforts trickle down to staff and all aspects of the business, training all employees on the challenges of climate change and how to have a more environmentally conscious approach in all departments – from shipping, to marketing, to Les Aulnois, Henriot’s hospitality house, where only organic products are used. Henriot is also a leader in eco-friendly packaging from both a materials and footprint standpoint, working exclusively with local printers and only using raw materials from European origin, increasing the use of recycled materials, and only using standard bottles (no custom shapes) for all wines except the prestige line, and standard recyclable shippers.
Wine to try: Henriot 2016 L’Inattendue, Champagne, FR, $155
Made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay, 100% Grand Cru aged for a minimum of four years on the lees with less than 4g/L dosage. This is Henriot’s first ever champagne made from one single cru, reflecting the House’s focus on plot-by-plot viticulture. The cuvée reveals the terroir through a singular year and a unique grape variety and is a wine absolutely worth the splurge. Buy it HERE.
Page Springs Cellars – Cornville, Arizona
Located in Cornville, Arizona, Page Springs Cellars has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship that rivals that of any world renown winery. The winery has installed a 125-kilowatt photovoltaic system that generates all electricity on site, making the most of the 300 or so sunny days per year in the region. Page Springs also processes all liquid waste on-site in a groundbreaking hybrid waste treatment system that is faster and more efficient than standard septic tank systems, and results in effluent that has standards that meet or exceed the best municipal treatment facilities in the state. This water is used to irrigate native mesquites and landscape planting on the estate. Page Springs’ solid waste treatment and recycling programs are among the best in any industry, and they currently use plant-based, sustainably produced sugarcane corks and are ever on the watch for 100% recycled glass bottles (their current producer is at 38% recycled and has the goal of hitting 50% by 2030).
Wine to try: Page Springs Cellars La Flor Rosa, Cornville, AZ, $19This mind-bending blend of Counoise, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Vidal Blanc, and Petite Sirah is one of those fun, crushable rosés but it also has a serious side, offering up some savory notes mixed in with the juicy berry and melon fruit. Equal parts porch-pounder and brilliant pairing at your next fancy dinner party. Buy it HERE.