The fine folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards have taken sustainability seriously for quite some time. One such initiative has been their Cork Reharvest program started in 2008. Since then, it has grown to such importance that one lucky couple won a trip to Portugal for recycling 202.1 pounds of cork at the Energy Trust Better Living Show. Their wines have long been Salmon Safe and the tasting room screams "green".
To take things a step further, Willamette Valley Vineyards is about to release their first Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) in the form of two Pinot Noirs. What's required for OCSW certification? In short, 97% of the fruit has to fall under at least one other certification, 100% of the grapes must be from Oregon, the bottling facilities themselves are certified by other agencies, and 97% of the fruit must be certified Salmon-Safe. The longer explanation can be found at OCSW's site.
While you can't get your hands on their 2008 OCSW Pinot Noir quite yet, Christine at WVV was generous enough to send us a bottle to preview. It may be a while until you see this wine in stores, but their Estate version for sale over Memorial Day weekend. We thought about letting it sit around for a bit, but what better day to pop an incredibly sustainable wine than on Earth Day?
This wine brings hues of tobacco, pomegranate or cranberry, strawberry, and presents itself as fruit-forward laced with a hint of earthiness. It's a bit tart and could stand sitting for a bit, but they obviously know that as this is a pre-release. Very solid pinot and even more impressive that this is their entry-level offering. I'd even go as far as to say even in its current state I enjoy it more than the 2007 offering and think it's going to be a big hit.
Sustainability initiatives from WVV and other Oregon wineries is one of the many things that completely distinguishes Oregon from other wine-growing regions of the world. Sustainability is an initiative that's been important to the state of Oregon for quite some time and it's incredible to see winemakers taking it to new heights. Kudos to every Oregon wine grower out there helping promote this movement and thanks again to WVV for taking it to the forefront of their business.