Drink Green? These wines are sustainable and sensational

By Alison Bailin Batz

Many wines have stickers on them lauding that they have been biodynamically farmed or are certified sustainable. But what does that mean? To hundreds of wineries across the West Coast, it means treating the land with respect and protecting our precious natural resources, be it water, soil or animal life nearby. Here are more than a dozen wines you can pick up right now whose vineyards go the extra mile to ensure the highest levels of love and respect for the air, land and water that contribute to the beauty in every bottle.

Vina Robles

The Arborist 2019

Certainly, the flavors here work — think plum and chocolate with ever-so-slight notes of tobacco at the end. Beyond the tasting notes, you will be tempted to buy a bottle or two of this varietal, as it is made in partnership with One Tree Planted. A portion of proceeds from every single bottle help the organization plant trees. To date, The Arborist has resulted in almost 22,000 new trees in the United States. $18

Ultraviolet Wines

Sparkling Rosé

A refreshing and floral bottle of bubbles with notes of strawberry, raspberry and grapefruit zest, Ultraviolet Wines are made without any additives other than sulfur and use natural corks that are recyclable and biodegradable. $24.99

Adelaida Rosé

Perfectly pink with a hint of strawberry punch, this intoxicating blend of mourvedre, grenache, cinsaut and counoise comes from one of Paso Robles’ sustainability pioneers. In fact, only 10% of Adelaida’s 1,900 acres are planted to vineyards; more than 1,000 acres remain undeveloped and unfenced, for ecological and wild animal habitat. $30

2021 Vin de Porche Rosé

Perfectly named, this balanced spring stunner with just the right amount of acidity is made to be enjoyed outside on the porch or, in the case of Arizona, perhaps in the pool. This family-owned winery is known for its organic farming and diligent water conversation. It was actually the second California winery to achieve the honorable Napa Green certification all the way back in 2008 as well. $30

J. Lohr 2019 Hilltop

Cabernet Sauvignon

Blackberry is the star of the show here, but with supporting aromas and flavors courtesy of red and black currants. J. Lohr is notable in that it operates the largest solar tracking array in the North American wine industry. The brand was awarded the 2020 Green Medal Leader Award and has achieved “Certified Sustainable” status for its vineyards each year since the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance first began certification in 2010. $35

Ehlers Estate

2021 Sylviane Rosé

Candied fruit and smoothing vanilla dominate the flavor notes here. It is great chilled on its own as well as combined with fruit and brandy for a lovely summer sangria. Every single bottle made at the vineyard, which is known for its composting and integration of livestock, is 100% organic and biodynamic by design. $38

Sebastiani Vineyards
Alexander Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon 2019

This 81% cabernet sauvignon that has bits of syrah, petit verdot, merlot and petite sirah is rich and elegant with notes of cherry, strawberry preserves and even a touch of leather. The vineyard focuses on soil management, uses natural fertilizers, composts at will, and proactively works directly with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to ensure all aspects of their business take the environment into account. $45

2019 Post & Beam Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

A joy on the nose and the palate, thanks to ample notes of raspberry and spice with just a hint of herbs, this vineyard is Napa Green Certified. Through this certification, all Post & Beam vineyards provide a pathway for growers to improve soil health; become carbon neutral to negative; and increase the resilience of vineyards, businesses and the community near and far. $50

Quintessa 2020 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc

Illuminating, indeed. This bright bottle, which legitimately looks like it glows, bursts with grapefruit, Meyer lemon and white peach into every sip. The vineyard began focusing on putting green in its farming routine all the way back in 1996 and today has its official Biodynamic farming certification from Demeter USA. $50

2019 My Favorite Neighbor

This wine is the brainchild of Booker Wines founder Eric Jensen and is actually made from vineyards nearby, aka “his neighbors.” Each sip takes you on a journey, first offering cherry and currant and then surprising the palate with herbs and touch of minerality. The only rules — other than being from Jensen’s favorite neighbor’s vineyards — are any fruit that goes into the bottle must be grown with organic practices and absolutely no chemicals and then made at Booker’s solar-powered winery. $50

Domaine Anderson

2017 Dach Pinot Noir

Like any perfect pinot, this varietal boasts a strong aroma and flavor of cherry throughout. Yet it also has a depth of flavors and textures, notably plus and woodiness, that set it apart. The vineyard where this pinot is farmed is both organic and biodynamic, complete with beehives, grazing sheep and chickens being responsibly raised on property. $65

Frog’s Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

If you are a fan of oak and earthiness, then this will be one of your favorite wines of all time. A dry farming pioneer — they began doing it in the 1980s — Frog’s Leap is also known as earning the first LEED Silver certification on its Napa winery building as well. $65

2020 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay

A timeless and award-winning chardonnay dozens of times over, most folks know Far Niente’s estate offering with its silky palate and delightful notes of vanilla and baking spices well.

They may not know, however, that the vineyard boasts the world’s first floating, grid-connected solar installation. The result? Far Niente is a net-zero user of electricity that annually produces more energy than it consumes. $73