Go Napa Green
Feb 01, 2018 09:29AM
● By Fran Miller
Who knew that drinking wine was good for the environment?
BY FRAN MILLER
2017 was a decidedly rough year in Northern California wine country. But now in full rebound mode, Napa’s hotels, wineries, and eateries encourage travelers to return and once again enjoy the bounty of one of the world’s most coveted destinations. Helping you to plan your next day or weekend trip is Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) with its 12 themed itineraries curated to match every viticultural mood. The common thread? Green….Napa Green. The Napa Green program - one of the most comprehensive environmental accreditations in the wine industry – serves to protect the land and conserve resources from soil to bottle. More than half of Napa County’s vineyard acreage is Napa Green Land Certified, and more than 60 Napa County wineries are Napa Green Winery Certified. So visit, swirl, sip, and savor not only great wines, but also the knowledge that your patronage is helping preserve both Napa’s economy and the environment.
On a recent visit we went "green" on the Eco Chic tour in and around St. Helena. First stop is Chateau Boswell, a boutique gem and the first Napa Valley winery to achieve Napa Green Winery status. Unofficially dubbed ‘the Queen of Napa Green’ for her continued efforts to reduce water and energy use, proprietress Susan Boswell instills a sustainable ethos in her 17 labels of hand-crafted, small lot varietals. Boswell personally oversaw the excavation of her spectacular 65 ft. under-earth wine cave and tasting room, where she preserved nooks that exhibit the area’s volcanic geological history. She has dotted the tasting room floor with hand-placed obsidian arrowheads found on-property when her late husband Richard Thornton Boswell planted the original estate vineyard nearly 40 years ago. Initially under the direction of the famed André Tchelistcheff, Chateau Boswell first produced luscious Cabernet Sauvignon but it’s portfolio has expanded to include luscious Russian River Valley Chardonnays and Sonoma Coast and Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirs – all produced in small lots from exceptional vineyards and all incredibly decadent and delicious.
Next, it’s a short trip to Phifer Pavitt, winner of the Great Wine Capitals’ 2017 Sustainable Wine Tourism award, where you’ll try their Date Night Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Owners Shane Pavitt and Suzanne Phifer Pavitt named their wines after their all-important weekly date nights when many of their most important life decisions were made, including the decision to purchase the land for their winery. The duo has built a sustainable environment from the ground up; its eco-chic tasting ‘barn’ is insulated with recycled blue jeans and features reclaimed and recycled materials, a floating free form wood countertop, a hand stenciled floor, and rustic wire chandeliers handmade by Suzanne. And of course, their vineyards are farmed using organic and sustainable farming methods.
Last stop: Stony Hill Vineyard, the oldest continuously operating winery in the Spring Mountain District. This small family winery started making white wines more than 60 years ago, and recently a Cabernet Sauvignon made its way into their stellar line-up of Chardonnays, Gewurtztraminers, Rieslings, and Semillons. Stony Hill prides itself on its ‘non-interventionist’ wines that allow the flavored fruit from their rocky, hillside soils to determine the wine’s character. Founders Fred and Eleanor McCrea have passed the reigns to granddaughter Sarah McCrea who continues to dry farm the certified Napa Green Land, just as it’s been tended since the winery’s inception.
Visit your three Napa Green wineries in one day, or spread the fun over two days. Luxurious Meadowood Resort sits at the heart of the Eco-Chic tour and in addition to being the perfect respite between tastings, maintains your itinerary’s environmental ethos. Discretely tucked into the hillside off of Silverado Trail, Meadowood blends seamlessly, and with a gentle footprint, into its oak and redwood tree-studded terrain. Food and beverage options utilize ingredients from the property’s multi-acre organic garden, from which Chef Victoria Acosta crafts a culinary menu of delectable and healthy options. A stay at Meadowood is not complete without a visit to its spectacularly serene Spa – alone worth an overnight visit as it is only open to resort guests and members. Holistic treatments take place in individual spacious suites, and include the use of sustainably produced, certified organic, non-toxic products. Post treatment, guests can lounge in their suite or in the relaxation garden while enjoying offerings from the Spa culinary menu such as house-dried fruits, nuts, grains, and nourishing elixirs such as carrot with ginger, or lime and coriander.
Continue the sustainable spirit of your weekend with a meal at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, a true farm-to-fork dining experience that showcases the talents of local farmers, cattle ranchers, and winemakers. Chef Stephen Barber utilizes the spoils of this certified organic 700-acre ranch in his American farmhouse cuisine. Grass-fed beef and lamb, seasonal produce, extra virgin olive oil, Cabernet vinegar, fresh eggs, honey, and other items raised, harvested, and handmade on the farm make their way onto a menu filled with comfort foods such as deviled eggs with pimento cheese, caramelized beets, beef chili, and Heritage St. Louis Ribs smoked daily on the largest smoker in St. Helena. The dining room’s sky high barn ceilings, brown leather booths, hay bale carrier lighting fixtures, and open kitchen create a warm and welcoming homestead ambiance. Purchase some of Farmstead’s artisanal provisions such as olive oil, sauces, and salts, and keep the Napa Green vibe going at home.