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March 2010  
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Audi Tips for Safe Driving
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The 2010 Audi A4 Stands out as Technological Tour de Force
The 2010 Audi A6 Scores Big Across the Board
The Unparalleled Power of Omega-3s
Going Green Beyond the Grapes
High Octane Myths – What Does That Number at the Pump Really Mean?
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Going Green Beyond the Grapes
Several vineyards are finding new ways to offer earth-friendly – and guilt-free – wine.

Although vineyards are often filled with rustic, old-world charm, the process of making and selling wine usually relies on the efficiency of modern-day industrialization. Unfortunately, this efficiency is not necessarily eco-friendly, and wineries find themselves spending outrageous amounts of materials and energy on pesticides, packaging and distribution. The good news, however, is that more and more vineyards are going green, striving for Mother Nature’s seal of approval without sacrificing the aromas and tastes of their products. Here are a few wineries that keep sustainability in mind when the grapes get ripe:

  1. Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards in Buellton, California: When Richard Sanford returned from the Vietnam War in 1968, he was immediately drawn to the Transverse Mountains that run east and west across southern California. After years in the winery business, Richard was ready for a new type of endeavor in 2005 when he started the Alma Rosa Winery, where organic farming is combined with a larger mission of sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly business practices. Sanford uses uniform bottles for all his wines to eliminate production waste, and all business stationery, promotional materials and shipping containers are natural, recyclable and chemical-free. The vineyard is designed with green building materials like adobe bricks (made by hand) and recycled first growth timber (originally harvested in 1912). Sanford also works with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, to make sure that the animal kingdom isn’t interrupted by any of his business ventures; features like owl boxes, which help provide a natural means of rodent control, keep the vineyard in step with its natural environment.
  2. BlackStock Vineyards and Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia: As the largest independent winegrower in the Southeast, it’s no wonder that BlackStock Vineyards is at the forefront of innovative, eco-friendly initiatives. Part of BlackStock’s plan for a greener vineyard is a high-density planting scheme; by using narrow equipment, the team can maximize their “per acre” productivity while lowering “per vine” usage. This Open Lyre system was developed by Dr. Alain Carbonneau of Bordeaux, France, and the folks at BlackStock have found it to be an effective method of low-impact farming in order to help preserve the natural richness of the topography and soil.
  3. Shafer Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, California: Twenty years ago, before “going green” became trendy, Shafer Vineyards was way ahead of the game. While other farms were infusing the soil with rodent poison to kill gophers, spraying herbicides to avoid unwanted foliage and fertilizing stripped-down soil with various chemicals, Doug Shafer was on a mission to harvest the Earth in a more natural way. Today, the winery uses owls and hawks for rodent control, as well as songbirds for pest control. In 2004, Shafer Vineyards was officially a 100 percent solar-powered operation, producing its own electricity with strategically placed panels around the property.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or farming fanatic, these vineyards offer lessons in sustainability that can be applied both at home and throughout the industrialized world. The result is better health, for both those who enjoy the fruits of the land, as well as the land itself.

For more information, visit www.almarosawinery.com, www.bsvw.com and www.shafervineyards.com.


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