Sterling Goes 'Green' With New Wine Line and Even Its Tram

    Sterling Vineyards has unveiled a new line of organic wines from Mendocino County.

     Sterling Vineyards Made With Organic Grapes 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay already are in the marketplace, and a Cabernet Sauvignon made from organic fruit is scheduled for release next April.

     The wines have been certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers organization, the emblem of which appears on the back labels.

     Winemaker Malcolm Seibly, with 30 years of winemaking experience, produced these wines from fruit grown in the organic Beckstoffer, Guinness McFadden and Patianna vineyards in the Mendocino area, known for industry-leading organic farming techniques.

     “Across the country, interest in organic foods and concern for the environment has become a priority for many people,” Seibly said. “Sterling has long been interested in environmental sustainability for our industry, and our commitment to this has only increased. Producing an organically grown wine was the logical step for us when we found the grape quality we were looking for.”

     The “organic” category is wide-ranging and, at times, confusing. Sterling has committed to the classification of “made with organically grown grapes,” which means that the fruit is grown without artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. Organic farming emphasizes precise timing and traditional practices such as cultivating symbiotic plants to aerate and nourish the soil, and attracting favorable insects such as ladybugs for pest control and bees for pollination. Additionally, the Sterling Vineyards Made With Organic Grapes bottling and storage facility has been certified organic.

     The bottle labels are made of 30% post-consumer waste paper (Forest Stewardship Council Certified), and shippers are made with 80% recycled material.

     The Sterling commitment to environmental sustainability is not limited to the new organically produced wines, however. Sterling Vineyards Made With Organic Grapes is a member of 1 Percent for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.

     Sterling Vineyards Made With Organic Grapes has pledged $50,000, just over 1% of projected gross annual proceeds, to benefit the shared mission of the alliance.

     Already sustainably farmed, comprehensive efforts are being made at the Sterling estate vineyards and the winery in the Napa Valley to reduce waste, water and energy usage. Key to this commitment is an investment of nearly $500,000 to convert the iconic Sterling tram from electric to solar power.

     The plan will generate 40 percent more energy than required to power the tram, and the excess will offset energy usage at the hilltop winery. The tram’s system will begin solar operations this fall.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
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