By Leah McNally

Did you attend our Wine on America’s Table event on August 5th? If not, you missed a fantastic program focusing on Environmentally Friendly Wines. The event committee rounded up a stellar group of wineries which produce a range of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines. Our resident sommelier, Barbara Paige worked with Saddles Restaurant in Sonoma to pair wines from our guests with a delectable meal.

Sommelier Barbara Paige

Sommelier Barbara Paige

It was a chance to learn about the steps wineries are taking to be good stewards to the environment. Ann Thrupp, Ph.D., is the Director of Sustainability for Fetzer Vineyards, and the WWS Sustainability Roundtable Co-Chair, gave a great Wine on America's Table Event at Saddles in Sonomapresentation on the differences between the levels of environmentally friendly practices and what wineries can do to implement them and become certified. Fetzer has been committed to organic farming for 18 years.  Their Bonterra 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Lake & Mendocino County was featured at the reception before dinner, and the 2009 Muscat Lake and Mendocino County was a delightful desert accompaniment.

Moshin Vineyards also provided a delightful 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from their Larrick Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley for our reception. It made a nice contrast to the Bonterra and brought out the subtleties of the different terriors. Julia Landers, Hospitality Manager charmed us with her enthusiasm and knowledge of sustainable winemaking at Moshin which includes minimal intervention in the growing cycle, and the use of energy saving practices such as solar power and gravity flow winemaking.

Maria Helm Sinskey delighted us with a tasting of the 2009 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Abraxas Vin de Terrior, Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard Carneros as the pairing for the salad course. Abraxas has a devoted following and you can see why when you inhale the floral aromas and taste the vibrant and delicate flavors this wine offers. Robert Sinskey Vinyards farms 2100 acres of COOF certified organic and Demeter Certified Biodynamic property. The care they put into their farming techniques and land stewardship shows through in the wines they produce.

Our second dinner course was accompanied by a 2009 Fortunati Rose of Syrah Napa Valley. How could you not love this rose? It was crisp and dry with a perfect balance of fruit and accompanied the crab cake perfectly.  Owner, Ellen Luchel, spoke of the Delicious food and wine pairingschoices the winery made such as forgoing pesticides and chemicals and focusing on organic soil treatments and sustainable water management methods over more invasive vineyard practices.

The final wine and winery story for the evening was Ehlers Estate. Their 2007 Ehlers Estate Merlot was brilliant with the main course of beef. Ehlers not only farms organically and biodynamically, it also donates all of the profits from the winery to the LeDucq Foundation which supports research in the field of cardiovascular disease. They get my award the triple crown for sustainability, social responsibility and great land stewardship.

One of the best things about the evening was that the raffle and silent auction proceeds brought our total WWS Scholarship funds to $1590.00. More about the scholarship winners will be featured in a future post.

Did you know WWS members get discounts on wine and wine tasting at featured wineries across the country? Members from any chapter are welcome to take advantage of the discounts regardless of the locations. Alpha Omega, Mumm, and Robert Craig offer discounted or complimentary tastings in the Napa Sonoma area. Wine Business Monthly is $29.00 a year for WWS members. Wow! I have to take advantage of that one, myself. Log in to the WWS web page and click on member discounts to see the full list of internet discounts and other deals in other chapter areas.

Have a great holiday weekend!