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Down To Earth Month: Celebrating the wines of eco-friendly wineries

April is Down to Earth Month, a celebration of those wineries in California that utilize green practices.
April is Down to Earth Month, a celebration of those wineries in California that utilize green practices.
California Wines and the Wine Institute

What do Earth Month and wineries have in common, sustainability and green practices. For the California Wines, the month of April is Down to Earth Month. During this month many of your favorite wineries will be showing off their Eco-friendly practices with special Earth Month activities. This month long celebration is sponsored by the Wine Institute.

California has the largest Sustainable program in the world. For each winery sustainable practices has different meanings and uses in the grape growing and wine making program. The idea being that each winery or vineyard utilizes practices that are both environmentally and socially responsible.

There are 1,800 wineries and vineyards that use a code established by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. There are many other programs in the state that are environmentally, economically and socially responsible. The include Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rule, Napa Green, Sustainability in Practice, Deter Certified Bio Dynamic and Certified Organic. All these programs represent the ways that the California wine industry is taking the lead on the green movement.

During the month of April, I will be highlighting Earth Month with articles on specific wineries' green practices and many of the different programs that encourage eco-friendly winegrowing and winemaking. I will be attending several of the specific celebration events offered during this month.

if you are planning a visit to any of the California wine country regions in April, you might want to consider including some of the special events celebrating Down To Earth Month. There are many festivities available to the consumer that focus on the eco-friendly practices. Many of these activities are child and pet friendly. For more information visit Discover California Wines.

In addition, here are some of the “Down to Earth” Events, Tours and Offers in California Wine Country:

NORTH COAST

Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: Noon – 5:00 pm
Cost: Tasting fees at participating wineries apply
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
707/433-3031, debbie@wdcv.com
Enjoy a special, customized experience in Dry Creek Valley to experience the area's certified organic and certified biodynamic wineries.

Eco-Tour and Tasting
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 10:00 am, Monday – Thursday
Cost: $25.00 for two
Honig Vineyard and Winery, Napa Valley
707/963-5618 ext. 328, kelly@honigwine.com
Two for one Eco-Tour and Tasting. A walking tour of Honig's sustainably farmed vineyard and tasting of four current release wines.

Down to Earth Month – Vineyard Hike (Reservations only)
April 16, 2014
Time: 10:30 am
Cost: $50 per person
Alexander Valley Vineyards, Sonoma County
707/433-7209 ext. 113, frances@avvwine.com
Join a grape-to-glass hike of the Wetzel Family Estate; taste wine from the barrel and enjoy a wine country picnic.

Mendocino County Party for the Planet 2014 (Earth Day)
April 18 - 26, 2014
Time: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Cost: Varies
County wide events, Mendocino County
866/466-3636
Celebrate Earth Day, Mendocino County-style at the Third Annual Where the Earth IS First Festival.

Napa Green Earth Day Celebration
April 18 – 20, 2014
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Events throughout the county including special tours and an Earth Day festival, Napa Valley.

Earth Day Celebration
April 19, 2014
Time: 11 am – 2 pm
Cost: $60 public, $40 club members and their guests
Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma County
800/989-8890, wineclub@benziger.com
Celebrate Earth Day at the winery ranch with Bordeaux tastings and hors d'oeuvres. RSVP required.

“Party for the Planet” a Family Friendly Way to Celebrate Earth Day
April 19, 2014
Time: 11 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: Free
Parducci Wine Cellars, Mendocino County
800/362-9463, tastingroom@parducci.com
Complimentary food & wine tastings, tours and farm animals. Over 25 local artisan food and farm providers with samples and demonstrations. Jumpy tents and patio chalk painting.

AVV is Going to the Dogs
April 26, 2014
Time: 10 am
Cost: $25 per dog (includes up to four people)
Alexander Valley Vineyards, Sonoma County
707/433-7209 ext. 113, frances@avvwine.com
Bring your favorite dog and help support Sonoma County Animal Care and Control with a relaxed walk through the vineyards to learn about sustainable winegrowing.

Saracina Vineyards' Earth Day Dog Hike
April 26, 2014
Time: 10 am – 1:30 pm
Cost: $35 public, $25 club
Saracina Vineyards, Mendocino County
707/670-0199, pviehmann@saracina.com
Join Saracina Vineyards' hiking squad for a morning hike through Saracina Vineyards' scenic 600-acre estate.

Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley
April 27, 2014
Time: Noon – 3:00 pm
Cost: $65
Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma County
joy@ironhorsevineyards.com
Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley at an outdoor food & wine festival with keynote speaker Sandra Day O'Connor at Iron Horse Vineyards.

INLAND VALLEY

Down to Earth at Quady Winery
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 9 am – 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday
Cost: No charge for groups under ten
Quady Winery, Madera County
800/733-8068, info@quadywinery.com
Visit Quady Winery and take a tour of the facility. The winery composts, recycles or reuses close to 99% of its byproducts!

SAN FRANCISCO SOUTH & EAST BAYS

Craft Your Own Cork Keychain
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 11 am – 4:30 pm
Cost: Free
Murrieta’s Well, Livermore Valley
925/456-2395, tastingroom@murrietaswell.com
Visit the tasting room and be provided with all the materials to make your own cork keychain.

Eco-Ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains
April 5 - 26, 2014
Time: Saturdays, 10 am and 11 am
Cost: $179 for two
Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards and Silver Mountain Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains
408/867-7116, ecoride@organicwinetrail.org
Santa Cruz Mountains CCOF-certified organic winegrowers Cooper-Garrod and Silver Mountain are offering an "Eco-Ride" package that includes horseback rides, wine tasting, lunch and vineyard tour.

Sustainable Vine to Wine Class at Captain Vineyards
April 13, 2014
Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Cost:$43 per person
Captain Vineyards, Moraga, Contra Costa County
925/899-0703, susan@captainvineyards.com
Learn how to transform beautiful grapes to great wine in this vineyard based class.

Celebrate Earth Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Organic Wine Trail
April 19, 2014
Time: Noon – 5:00 pm
Cost: Individual tasting fees apply
Silver Mountain, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Alfaro Family Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains
408/353-2278, info@organicwinetrail.org
Celebrate Earth Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains in organic vineyards with tours, wine tastings, picnicking and more.

Down to Earth Vineyard Tour
April 27, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm
Cost: Free
Bent Creek Winery, Livermore Valley
925/455-6320, patheineman@bentcreekwinery.com
Join Bent Creek winegrower Tom Heineman for our Down to Earth Vineyard Tour and a discussion of grape growing during a time of drought.

Down to Earth
April 27, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm
Cost: Free
Concannon Vineyard, Livermore Valley
925/583-1558, rochelle.todd@thewinegroup.com
Free sustainability tour for guests at 2:00 pm. Visitors arriving at the tasting room via bicycle receive a complimentary wine flight.

Down to Earth in Livermore Valley
April 27, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm
Cost: Varies
Livermore Valley Wine Country, Livermore Valley
925/447-9463, marketing@lvwine.org
Livermore Valley Wine Country will celebrate Earth Day and Down to Earth month by hosting simultaneous eco-focused classes, walks and talks on Sunday, April 27th.

Down to Earth Day at McGrail: Sustainable Vineyard Tour
April 27, 2014
Time: 2 pm – 2:30 pm
Cost: $10
McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Livermore Valley
925/215-0717, heather@mcgrailvineyards.com
Enjoy a sustainable wine tour of our estate Cabernet Vineyard as you taste through award winning wines!

B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bottle)
April 27, 2014
Time: Noon – 4:30 pm
Cost: $5 tasting fee, $8.99 per bottle
Page Mill Winery, Livermore Valley
925/456-7676, info@pagemillwinery.com
Bring in your old/clean 750 ml wine bottle and fill it up with our Recovery Red. For $8.99 per bottle we will fill, cork and label it with a delicious table wine.

Down to Earth Garden Tour
April 27, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Cost: Free
Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery, Livermore Valley
925/443-1998, info@rmwinery.com
Tour winery gardens with Nancy Rodrigue and learn techniques that promote water conservation throughout the winery. Leave with a bulb to plant in your garden!

SOUTH CENTRAL COAST

Celebrate Earth Day - Recycle Your Corks!
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 11 am – 6 pm
Cost: Complimentary with 20 corks
Riverbench Santa Barbara Tasting Room, Santa Barbara County
805/324-4100, info@riverbench.com
Visit the new tasting room and celebrate Down to Earth month by recycling your corks for a complimentary tasting.

Celebrate Earth Day - Recycle Your Corks!
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Cost: Complimentary with 20 corks
Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County
805/937-8340, info@riverbench.com
Celebrate Down to Earth month by recycling your corks for a complimentary tasting at the winery.

Earth Day Food & Wine: Farm to Fork Dinner
April 11, 2014
Time: 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Cost: $175 per person
The Restaurant at JUSTIN, Paso Robles
805/466-2288
Learn about JUSTIN’s biodynamic and sustainable winery practices and help pick fresh vegetables and herbs for dinner. Then sit back and enjoy a four-course, family-style dinner to be paired with several of JUSTIN’s stellar wines.

Earth Day Food & Wine Weekend
April 11 - 13, 2014
Time: 1 pm
Cost: $75 – $115
Venues throughout San Luis Obispo County
805/466-2288, kyle@vineyardteam.org
Cultivate your roots and enjoy the 8th Annual Earth Day Food & Wine Weekend, April 11-13, 2014

Sustainably-Farmed Vineyard Walk, Scavenger Hunt & Brunch
April 13, 2014
Time: 10:30 am
Cost: $35 public, $30 Club
Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
805/688-3032, info@ButtonwoodWinery.com
A walk through the hills and dales of this sustainably-farmed vineyard with Winemaker Karen Steinwachs and Soil Guru Stan Kadota.

Blending Seminar at Certified Organic Vineyard: Tablas Creek
April 26, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Cost: $30 for VINsiders and $40 for guests (2 guests maximum)
Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles
805/237-1231 ext. 30
www.tablascreek.com
Partner Jason Haas and winemaker Neil Collins will lead a barrel tasting of the individual varietals and discuss the blending process. Participants will then produce their own blends

Taste of Pismo
April 26, 2014
Time: Noon – 4:00 pm
Cost: $50 per person, $25 designated driver
Dinosaur Caves Park, San Luis Obispo County
805/773-4382
This outstanding event brings together delicious local food and superb central coast wineries - all in one exceptional location.

Wine4 Paws – Benefiting Woods Humane Society
April 26 – 27, 2014
Time: Check with individual wineries
Cost: Individual winery tasting fees
Wineries throughout San Luis Obispo County
Philanthropy is a key sustainable practice. Central Coast wineries are donating 2% of their sales this weekend to Woods Humane Society. Enjoy this beautiful wine region while supporting a great cause.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Celebrate Down To Earth Month at Palumbo Vineyards and Winery – Mini-Tour and Tasting
April 1 – 30, 2014
Time: Call for times
Cost: $45
Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery, Temecula Valley
951/676-7900, info@palumbowines.com
Take a mini-tour and tasting with Palumbo’s winemaker or assistant winemaker at a California certified-sustainable, artisanal wine estate

Down to Earth Month - Ponte Estate Winery Tour
April 1 - 30, 2014
Time: 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm
Cost: $25 public, $20 club
Ponte Estate Winery, Temecula Valley
877/314-9463, info@pontewinery.com
Take a bus tour to see how Ponte makes its wines, and where the grapes are sustainably grown.

Earth Day Wine Tours at South Coast Winery
April 21 - 25, 2014
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Cost: $50 public, $45 club
South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, Temecula Valley
866/994-6379 ext. 7259
Celebrate Earth Day by getting up close and personal with the sustainable winegrowing standards of California’s State Winery of the Year.

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