Going green while drinking reds


The excitement, debate and controversies over organic wine, natural wine, wine bottle waste and wine closures never seem to come to an end.

A few years ago, the big closure movement was to screwcaps for what was usually lower-priced wines.

Wine closures now include cork, synthetic cork, glass stoppers and more. The latest is an effort to further turn wine green with Bio Zero Carbon footprint stoppers. Avalon Winery, Sonoma, is promoting the closure as the first winery in the U.S. to move to the latest environmentally friendly stopper.

The Graton, California, winery has long been interested in sustainability and good green practices. They have a rainwater system, which helps protect local salmon and house bees for local beekeepers in the vineyard, according to their marketing folks.

The winery management team had been interested in green packaging and sustainability all while keeping wine quality at the highest levels. Then in 2014, Select Bio by Nomacorc emerged as a cork alternative made as a plant-based polymer cork made from sugarcane. From the press materials, the benefits include:

Prevents cork taint (spoiled taste).

Allows some needed oxygen exchange required by all wines.

Crumble-free and won’t break.

Produced with 100 percent renewable energy.

100 percent recyclable with other plastics.

While many wine drinkers have a hard time being tree huggers, especially when you consider the use of such heavy glass in many wine bottles, these type of efforts are worthy of note.

Avalon sent along a bottle of its 2012 Cabernet. The wine is 76 percent Cab, 13 percent Syrah, 7 percent Zinfandel and 4 percent Merlot.

Grapes come from Napa, Lodi, Paso Robles and Monterey County. The wine was aged in a combination of French and American barrels for eight months. That sort of wine geekiness is really only important to me for this column when winemakers are talking about new closures and other innovations.

I thought the wine was a terrific value wine. It’s not quite the level of a fruit bomb — and that’s a good thing — but is soft, well-rounded and very drinkable. The wine was varietally correct — it sure tasted like Cabernet. I try to judge wines for what they are, and the Avalon Cab was a darn fine SRP $12.99 bottle. (Trade Sample)

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine every other week for more than 20 newspapers. Reach Howard at: [email protected]

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