Mendocino: Green Before It Became Fashionable

     Earth Day 2008 had special meaning for grapegrowers and winemakers in Mendocino, which celebrated its status as “America’s Greenest Wine Region.”

     The slogan was formally adopted by the region’s winegrowing community in late 2007 to reflect all that the vast and varied Northern California county offers those who seek environmentally healthy foods and beverages, as well as accessible yet pristine travel destinations.

     “While other regions are scrambling to create self-certification programs and attending seminars on ‘going green,’ we’re celebrating the fact that we were green before it became a marketing concept,” said Ed Berry Jr., chairman of the Mendocino Winegrape & Wine Commission.

     “Our grapegrowers and winemakers, like the rest of the farming community here, have personal ties to the land that sometimes spans four or five generations. It has always been about sustainability and ensuring that family farms are healthy for the present and future generations.”

     “America’s Greenest Wine Region” reflects that Mendocino County’s authentic “green” credentials are unsurpassed by any other wine region in the world. The region is dominated by family farmers, grapegrowers and winemakers — several of whom have been at the forefront of the sustainable, organic, biodynamic, and fish-friendly farming movements.

     Mendocino County green highlights include:

    *** Extensive organic, biodynamic and sustainable farming and food processing across all crops, including winegrapes and wines.

    *** 18% of Mendocino County’s winegrapes are certified organic (300% more than any other region) and more than 4% are Demeter certified Biodynamic or pending Biodynamic certification.

    *** Legal protections for heritage crops: Mendocino is the first county in America to outlaw GMOs in unincorporated areas to ensure the continued viability of heritage crops and seeds (Measure H in 2004).

    *** True wild places: No other wine region in the world has the thousands of acres of standing timber, watersheds and wild coastline that characterize the Mendocino County landscape.

    *** Just 19,274 acres, less than 1% of Mendocino’s 2.4 million total acres, are under cultivation.

    *** Home of the only winery in the world to purchase 100% renewable (green) energy — such as solar, wind and geothermal — for all winery operations.

    *** Home of the nation’s first organic winery, founded in 1980.

   *** Home of the nation’s first solar-powered winery: today, individual winery energy use is up to 100% solar.

    *** Home of the America’s first carbon-neutral winery.

    *** Home of the wine industry’s largest solar array, generating 1.1 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually and supplying 80% of the winery’s electricity needs.

    *** Mendocino is recognized around the globe as one of the world’s great travel destinations, a place for renewal and connection with fine locally produced foods and wines.

    *** Mendocino County growers and vintners are committed to sustainably farming and crafting winegrapes and wines that rival the best of the best from any wine region in the world.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
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