Planet-Friendly Wines to Celebrate Earth Day

By Food & Wine Magazine April 17, 2020

On April 22, Earth Day will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Back in 1970, the inaugural Earth Day event helped establish the modern environmental movement. And many of the causes that brought people together back then—concern about pesticides use, water conservation, and the loss of natural wildlife habitats—have since gained new supporters and new urgency.

When the first Earth Day happened, there was an emphasis on personal change at the level of the individual,” says Aaron Sachs, a professor of history at Cornell University. While that emphasis persists today, he says a notable difference between then and now is that environmentalism has expanded to the food industry. “Even in big grocery store chains, you see vegan and organic options where there never used to be.” And these trends have extended into the world of grape farming and winemaking.

Even a decade ago, most wine shops or supermarkets did not stock bottles made with organically farmed grapes or other nature-minded methods. Today, wine drinkers who care about the planet and its health can easily find such options—including, in many states, a broader selection of locally produced wines that come without the environmental drawbacks of long-distance transport. 
Consider this guide your Earth Day wine shopping list. Each of the wines on this list is produced using methods—some new, some ancient—that limit their impact on the planet.

2018 Montinore Estate Pinot Gris
If you’re unfamiliar with biodynamic winemaking, think of it as organic-plus. Grapes are grown without the use of pesticides or other chemicals, but biodynamic producers also eschew the use of sulfites and employ other measures to ensure the vitality and sustainability of their crops. All of Montinore’s wines are certified biodynamic by the non-profit Demeter, one of the world’s leading authorities in biodynamic winemaking. They’re also certified organic. This succulent Pinot Gris is floral and fruit-forward, and packs enough acid to make it a great companion for food. Not many wines at this price can boast such planet-friendly bona fides. 

2017 Shafer TD-9
Shafer is one of the most-esteemed names in California winemaking, and its vineyards also rank among the most sustainably farmed in the state. Utilizing cover crops for natural pest management, recycled rainwater for irrigation, and 100% solar power, Shafer’s wines are as planet friendly as they are impressive. The TD-9 is juicy, powerful red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.

2018 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay
One of the leading producers in the Napa Valley, Far Niente couples organic farming practices with some of the most committed sustainable-energy initiatives in the state. Their 2018 Chardonnay is a splurge. But there are few better ways to celebrate Earth Day than with a glass or two of this balanced, thrillingly complex white wine.