No, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day (which the world skipped in 2020 given the commencement of the pandemic’s scourge) but it was time for wine down and chill to go green. We know you’re ready for a break as things are getting a little hot out there – in more ways than one – so let’s get to talking about this week’s theme.
Theme: Going Green
You didn’t think that we literally meant “green,” did you? Green wine sounds like it would be tough to swallow … pun intended! No, today’s wine down and chill theme is all about sustainability, going green in the proverbial sense. And, to shine a spotlight on New York state, one that’s had a particularly tough year.
Listen: Green Day
With all that’s going on the in country right now, maybe it’s time for some irreverence through music? Green Day comes top of mind with notable songs like, “American Idiot.” In the spirit of protesting and championing what’s right, their 2004 single topped the charts for months then returned to the top of the charts in 2018 in the UK to protest the visit by an American dignitary – the President himself.
One of my favorite songs, and also spot-on for today’s wine down and chill theme, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” by none other than Mr. Green himself, Kermit the Frog. Finally, here is a playlist with ten songs featuring the word “green” in the title.
We’ve talked about biosustainability in previous wine down and chill columns, but let’s take a fresh spin on it. Did you catch that other pun where green equals fresh? Wink!
First, some terminology. “Organic” is a government-certification which designates that a plant crop was grown without any chemicals. “Biodynamic” agriculture is viewed holistically, where, in this case, a vineyard is treated as a total ecosystem. Everything from lunar cycles to natural insect and predator control measures are factored in when it comes to planting, harvesting, watering and so on. “Sustainable” references an environmental and social commitment for the workers, the community and the consumers.
In 2018, Silver Oak Winery (which just happens to produce one of my Top 3 favorite wines, their Cabernet Sauvignon, which I consume only on special occasions) was the first to become Platinum LEED certified. Everything from salvaged building materials to energy conservation has been precisely quantified and utilized in the design of their green building.
But here’s where it gets interesting. CA isn’t the only state with a green focus. Today’s wine down and chill column honors the efforts of Red Tail Ridge Winery, in upstate NY in the Finger Lakes region. Their building is Gold LEED certified and they embrace sustainability with initiatives like sourcing supplies from vendors within a 500-mile radius, using a geothermal heating and cooling system, and other efforts. Although their wines are not sold in stores around the country, you can order them online and have them shipped. My bottles were sourced in New Rochelle, NY and one of their wines is this week’s wine down and chill selection.
Another green wine effort is in Long Island, NY at the Sparkling Pointe Winery. Of note is their state-of-the-art “net zero” wine storage facility. That means that it generates all the energy that it consumes.
Wine: Red Tail Ridge Good Karma
Their brilliant branding, Red Tail Ridge Good Karma (2018 vintage is priced at $14/bottle), is also nicely aligned with this week’s wine down and chill theme of going green and embracing sustainable practices towards a better future. Here’s a surprise, it’s a Riesling! Not the varietal that I typically feature but it’s a nice change and great for a hot summer day.
If you’re not in the mood for the traditional Riesling tasting notes of peaches, honeysuckle and citrus which make this steel-tank-aged wine enjoyable with just enough acidity to not be saccharin sweet, then try their Dry Riesling. The winery is operated by a husband and wife team, Mike Schnelle and Nancy Irelan, who offer interesting insights into their harvesting and bottling practices. For example, the 2017 growing season was particularly rough in NY – it was cold and wet – which delayed grape ripening until late September when things finally warmed up and all their vineyards needed to be harvested at the same time. It’s not easy being green!
Dine: Green Kale
To be consistent with our green theme, here’s a vegan dinner option which has very low impact on the environment but a lot of positive impact for you. Antioxidants like those naturally sourced from leafy greens such as kale are a great boost to any diet. Toss kale in cider vinegar, a bit of raw cane sugar (or natural maple syrup) then mix with cooked tricolor quinoa, feta cheese, strawberries and walnuts. Delish!
Watch: Green Room
I personally get a real kick out of it when actors, particularly the high caliber ones, break from their stereotypes (real or perceived) and transform into a character that you didn’t see coming. We already knew that Sir Patrick Stewart is as comfortable on-stage reciting Shakespeare as he is blasting around in space light years away. But did you know that he can also personify a quietly menacing and totally terrifying neo-Nazi? We’ve had big thunderstorms here all week so finding a dark a scary movie to go with the weather seemed about right. Here’s the trailer for the riveting (but violent) thriller, Green Room.
You can wine down and chill all week long
If this week’s theme didn’t float your boat or fill up your glass to wine down and chill, no worries. We’ll continue to offer affordable suggestions for music, wine, dinner and movies with a different wine down and chill theme each week. You can also follow me on Instagram for wine art and photography @WineDownAndChill. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill. If you missed an article, fret not! You can find every article here.
If you like podcasts, well, wouldn’t you know, we’ve got those, too! Three of them, in fact: 1) Like a Boss with snappy insights; 2) wine down and chill; and 3) Monday motivation. All three are available on all streaming channels including Apple, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more. Tune in!
It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!