Wine & Spirits: Sustainable Sipping for Earth Day

In the spirit of Earth Day, while enjoying your favorite beer, spirit, red or white, don’t forget to propose a toast to thinking green.

By Kelly A. Magyarics

360vodka2

We all need to do our little to help the earth, and not just one day a year. These beverages (and accessories) show sustainability that steps out of the kitchen and off the fork, and onto the back bar.

Doug Fabbioli

of Leesburg's Fabbioli Cellars

Recycling wine bottles is a given, but go one step further by participating in a bottle return program. One of the most popular wines at Leesburg’s Fabbioli Cellars is the Raspberry Merlot. Fans of this liquid dessert alternative crave its fruity-yet-tart flavor, but the bottle stands out for another reason: customers receive $1 for each empty bottle they return. The program easily works because the bottles have a permanently imprinted label, and because the wine is non-vintage. Owner Doug Fabbioli sees the program as a chance for him to do a little something for the planet—and to bring customers back out to visit the winery. (I can attest that it’s a fun, friendly place, and he makes some other killer wines as well.)

A few years ago, 360 Vodka reinvented the spirits industry by being the first and only true eco-friendly premium vodka. Every bushel of grain used in the vodka has nothing going to waste, and it’s produced in a facility that has improved its eco-footprint dramatically in the past five years. The booze is also packaged in a

360 Vodka now comes in three flavors.

360 Vodka now comes in three flavors.

bottle made from 85% recycled glass, 100% post-consumer waste and natural inks. If you like your vodka tricked out with a flavor, the company just released two new products: 360 Cola and 360 Double Chocolate. If you happen to be more of a purist (like me,) mix up an earth-friendly classic vodka sour with organic lemons and simple syrup made from organic sugar.

You’ve probably made the switch away from plastic grocery bags, but what are you using to tote home your vino? Burke, VA’s Winemania.biz’s Eco-Friendly Wine Bag ($12 for 1, $20 for 2) holds six bottles of wine, beer, soda, water, whatever, and the blue or maroon nylon surface easily wipes clean. It’s perfect for picnics, tailgates, dinner clubs or clambakes.

Modmix makes quality organic mixers

Modmix makes quality organic mixers

Sure, freshly made is best, but Modmix’s Organic Mixers are a smart option for last minute casual entertaining. Add a splash of your favorite spirit to flavors like Lavender Lemon Drop, Citrus Margarita or Wasabi Bloody Mary, or mix them with club soda for a refreshing n/a tipple.

Finally, for oenophiles who care not just about what’s in the glass, but how it got there, seek out organic wines from The Organic Wine Company, which offers certified organic offerings from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, California, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. The fundamental idea behind organic wine is that making wine from grapes grown without chemical fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, and other synthetic chemicals is better both for the planet and for the wine drinker because all of these things can damage the soil and the plant, and can end up in the wine as residues. And don’t forget—lots of wineries who don’t go through the rigorous, stringent process to become certified organic often farm and produce wine organically, using small amounts of chemicals in the vineyard or in the cellar.

is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on www.twitter.com/kmagyarics.

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