Here’s a look at some of the events being planned by Northern California wineries in conjunction with Earth Day 2011…
* Artesa Vineyards & Winery (Napa Valley): Artesa is offering a discounted tour and tasting on April 22. The excursion, offered at $30 (33 percent off the regular price), includes a tour of the winery followed by an educational tour of the Pinot Noir vineyard. Guides will talk about their green practices and water conservation efforts, and the event includes a tasting.
* Big House Winery (Livermore Valley): Big House will be pouring its eco-friendly Octavin wines on April 22 at the Underdog Wine Bar in Livermore, Calif. Octavin packaging holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine and its patent-pending design eliminates oxidation so every glass tastes fresh and flavorful for up to six weeks.
* Concannon Vineyards (Livermore Valley): In honor of Earth Day, the winery is offering free daily tours of the beautiful Concannon grounds to learn about sustainable winegrowing and earth-friendly practices in their winery and vineyards, plus other efforts to preserve energy through innovative technology. The historic Concannon Tasting Room will celebrate with a $5 tasting flight of Concannon Conservancy wines, sourced 100% from vineyards that have been placed in a conservation trust that will protect them forever from urban development.
* Grgich Hills Estate (Napa Valley): This renowned biodynamic winery, owned by Mike Grgich, winning winemaker from the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” is offering two-for-one biodynamic estate tours and tastings throughout April to celebrate Earth Day. Mention “Earth Month Two-For-One Tour” and two will tour and taste for the price of one, a savings of $35. Guests will follow the path of the grapes from Grgich’s certified biodynamic vineyard to the bottle. The tour concludes with a guided tasting of five current releases.
Info and reservations (required): www.grgich.com
* Handley Cellars (Anderson Valley): The winery will be celebrating with special complimentary tours on April 22, which will include walking through the organic vineyard and enjoying a cellar tasting of the 2010 wines. The winery also is offering wine and food pairings April 22-24 at no charge.
Reservations: 800-733-3151 or email email@example.com
* Kunde Family Estate (Sonoma Valley): Enjoy a “Hike and Taste in the Vineyards,” a tour with Sonoma Valley docent Bill Myer on April 23 at Kunde. It’s a fun, casual and up-close hike through the 1,850-acre volcanic and vertical estate, providing a great opportunity to see sustainable winegrowing practices at work while taking in some of wine country’s most spectacular scenery. The tour winds through the estate’s distinct eco-systems, each one uniquely contributing to the process of sustainable winegrowing. Guests will taste wines along the way in the very vineyards in which the grapes are grown. This moderately strenuous hike lasts approximately four hours. The cost is $30, and reservations are required.
Info: 707-282-1534 or www.kunde.com
* Parducci Wine Cellars (Ukiah): In honor of Earth Day, Parducci is partnering with Real Goods and The Solar Living Institute on April 23 to present a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in a sustainable lifestyle. Parducci will conduct free in-depth tours exploring what it takes to be carbon neutral, utilize 100 percent green power, recycle 100 percent of the winery waste water, and farm sustainably. Guests will be encouraged to sample various local food and wine pairings in the Parducci tasting room and visit the on-site wetlands. Just down the road, Real Goods and the Solar Living Institute will provide hands-on alternative energy education along with tips on how to reduce your environmental footprint.
* Quivira Vineyards and Winery (Healdsburg): The biodynamic estate is celebrating Earth Day with complimentary walking estate tours and tastings on April 22 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Venture into the garden to learn about their organic produce and contributions to the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County. Meet their resident pigs, cows and chickens, and learn about their compost program. Stroll through the vineyards and cellar to learn about Quivira’s unique winemaking and how their commitment to biodynamics helps them make outstanding wines. The tour will wind down in the tasting room with a wine tasting.
Reservations: Meghan Smith, 707-431-8354, ext. 212, or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Rodney Strong Vineyards (Sonoma County): The estate’s RSV Green Light program celebrates Earth Day and Rodney Strong’s green practices by encouraging people everywhere to replace one ordinary light bulb with an energy efficient CFL bulb in their home or office to help conserve energy and protect the environment. To generate excitement for the pledge drive, Rodney Strong will be providing complimentary CFL bulbs to anyone who takes the pledge between March 1 and April 30, while supplies last.
* Saracina Vineyards (Mendocino County): Saracina’s Earth Day Dog Hike takes place Saturday, April 23. Join the hiking squad for a spring morning trek through the scenic 600-acre estate, a four-mile, moderately strenuous hike on gently rolling terrain. Part of the proceeds from this dog-friendly hike benefits the Humane Society. Saracina will provide a water bar and dog treats for four-legged companions. The hike will culminate at the Saracina Tasting Bar with a wine country box lunch and a wine tasting with owner John Fetzer. The three-hour tour starts at 10 a.m. and costs $40 per person or $75 per couple.
Info: Elliot Karpman, 707-744-1671, ext. 280, or email@example.com
* Sonoma Vineyard Adventures (Sonoma County): Celebrate Earth Day all month with free self-guided tours at Francis Ford Coppola Winery (707-857-1400) and Schug Carneros Estate Winery (707-939-9363), both participants in California’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program. Call the wineries directly to ask about hours and the tour brochure.
General info: www.sonomavineyardadventures.com
* Tres Sabores Ranch Winery (Napa Valley): The winery is celebrating 25 years of integrated, organic farming with a special picnic in the vineyard where you can meet Julie Johnson, the winemaker and organic grower. Wine and dine between the vines on the scenic western Rutherford benchland on April 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rain date: May 14). The cost is $35 per person, and includes a tasting of three wines, charcuterie from a local vendor, breads, a Tres Sabores salad of garden and foraged cover crop greens and more.
Reservations: Ashley@tressabores.com or 707-967-8027
* Wente Vineyards (Livermore Valley): The Wente Event Center is celebrating Earth Day with a special tasting event on Sunday, April 17 from 1-5 p.m. Walk the beautiful grounds of this eco-friendly winery and experience sample wines from Wente, Tamas Estates and Murrieta’s Well, as well as food tastings from the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, The Grill, and Wente Vineyards Catering. The event costs $25 per person and also includes a tour of their organically farmed Chef Gardens, a tour of their award-winning Audubon Sanctuary at The Course at Wente Vineyards, as well as live music. Tickets can be purchased at tasting rooms in advance or on April 17 at the Wente tasting room.
Info: Kelly Hansen, 925-456-2467
* Westbrook Wine Farm (Sierra Nevada Foothills): This charming winery, which practices sustainable farming and minimalist winemaking near the southern entrance of Yosemite, offers ongoing tours of its 35-acre wildlife habitat – a great tour for celebrating Earth Day. Tours are offered most days in April for free by appointment.
Info: 559-868-3499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*?Yorkville Cellars (Anderson Valley): Yorkville is celebrating 25 years of certified organic farming in Mendocino County on Earth Day weekend (April 22-24) with an “Earth Day Celebration Organic Vineyards Tour & Tasting.” Take a tour with proprietors Edward and Deborah through their organic vineyards and be a farmer for a day by helping release ladybugs and lacewings, which naturally control pests. Also enjoy special wines from Yorkville’s inaugural vintage, to be matched with tempting appetizers made from local, organic ingredients. The cost is $10 per person.
TOMORROW: More Earth Day events at Southern California and Central Coast wineries.