It’s that time to officially honor Mother Earth. April 22 makes the 51st Earth Day, the annual event for supporting environmental protection. So many players in the beverage alcohol and hospitality industries have stepped up their sustainability efforts in recent years. Here are just a few recent programs and ideas for commemorating not just Earth Day but the entire sustainability month of April.
Check out a Kimpton Wine Hour.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is honoring Earth Day this year by planting a tree for every bottle of wine poured during its nightly Wine Hour throughout April. Kimpton’s signature Wine Hour will feature wines from Trinchero Family Estates all month long. The brand’s longstanding relationship with Trinchero Family Estates and Trees for the Future has already led to the planting of more than 23,000 trees in the nearly five years of the partnership.
What’s more, select Kimpton restaurants are participating in the California Wine Institute’s “Down to Earth” month with special offerings all month long. At Elm & Good (Kimpton Pittman Hotel in Dallas), Fielding’s (Kimpton Armory Hotel in Bozeman, MT) and Henley (Kimpton Aertson Hotel in Nashville), guests will be able to enjoy curated food pairings with California wines and learn about Kimpton’s sustainable wine offerings such as those from longstanding partner Cakebread Cellars. Cakebread is certified as Fish Friendly and participates in the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing program, among other sustainable practices in the vineyards.
Help plant some trees with your purchase.
A number of spirit and wine brands have pledged to help replant the forests. For instance, Bulleit Whiskey, American Forests and Cocktail Courier have teamed up to create a limited-edition eco-friendly Earth Day Cocktail Kit in celebration of Earth Month and Earth Day 2021. Available on Cocktail Courier, Bulleit will be donating 22% of sales of kits during the month of April (projected to be $10,000) to American Forests in honor of Earth Day on April 22. This donation comes on the heels of the brand’s commitment to plant 1 million trees over the next five years in partnership with American Forests.
In partnership with The National Forest Foundation, the Hess Collection winery’s Pour One, Plant One program will help rebuild forests around the country. Napa Valley-based Hess has committed to supporting long-term environmental efforts, with each bottle of its Hess Select wines sold throughout the year, contributing towards the planting of 25,000 trees in National Forests around the U.S.
California wine brand Meiomi Wines is donating $100,000 to the National Forest Foundation, to support the ongoing efforts behind wildfire prevention in the state. Each year the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, facilitates common ground, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, and improves recreational opportunities.
Select a sustainable wine.
There are plenty of regions and producers committed to sustainable wines and winemaking, including many West Coast wineries. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) in April launched a new website to help trade, media, consumers and visitors find sustainable wines, wineries and vineyards that are certified with a rigorous third-party audit.
Chile represents one of the most regionally diverse and eco-friendly wine selections on the planet: 80% of Chilean wine exports are certified sustainable. To build on its momentum, Wines of Chile USA is activating the Sustainability 365 campaign, developed in tandem with Colangelo & Partners, and planned around the theme: “Drink Sustainable. Drink Chile.”
The Languedoc in the south of France is known as the world’s largest organic wine region. Winemaker Gérard Bertrand owns 15 vineyards in the area, all of which are either certified biodynamic or in the process of becoming so. In March Bertrand hosted a virtual Organic French Wine Festival, which included a tasting of 10 of his organic and biodynamic wines, to promote the company’s sustainable products and practices.
Organic wine is thriving in Italy as well. Cantine Ermes was founded in 1998 in the heart of Sicily’s Belice Valley, known for the 1968 earthquake that wiped out a vast surface of the island. A group of nine young winemakers decided to reconstruct the land, forming what is today the biggest wine co-op in the region. Their organic wine collection is called Vento di Mare (wind from the sea) and includes both indigenous grapes, such as grillo, Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, and international vines such as pinot noir and pinot grigio.
Sip to support the bees and bats.
Tequila brand Código 1530 has been committed to earth-sustaining practices across all facets of its business. The team plants agaves that are dedicated to flower as a food source for the local bat population. Bats are a crucial part in the making of tequila as they are critical to the agave eco-system.
Scotch brand Aberfeldy aims to relieve the plight of honeybees via its Barrels and Bees program. The initiative supports local beekeepers by partnering with them to feature their honey as an ingredient in signature cocktails. For instance, the Honey Highball combines 1 ½ oz. Aberfeldy with ½ oz. local honey syrup topped with chilled chamomile tea.
You can also look for the Bee Friendly label on wine and other products from Europe. The Bee Friendly Association, founded in 2011, aims to identify and promote pollinator-friendly products and production methods.
Seek a sustainable straw.
Pandemic to-go trends have led to an increase in single-use plastic. From bamboo to hay to pasta, a number of greenr alternatives to traditional plastic straws have hit the market.
A new sustainable and disposable alternative is Phade, the first plastic drinking straw made for restaurants that is marine biodegradable and home/industrial soil compostable. Made from canola oil by WinCup in the U.S, Phade was named an Innovation Awards for Foodservice 2021Sustainability Solutions Winner by SmartBrief and The National Restaurant Association.
Say cheers with a solar-produced sip.
Wine and spirits producers have long embraced solar energy. Kendall-Jackson, for instance, has been the leading generator of solar energy in the U.S. wine industry since 2016, the company says. It has even partnered with Tesla for energy storage systems The brand’s Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay began carrying the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing logo on its label in summer 2020.
Domaine Carneros in 2003 installed the largest solar collection system of any winery in the world. A new microgrid system being installed this summer will provide the winery with 85% of its energy needs and will be self-sustaining in the event of a power outage.
Mezcal de Leyendas just announced the release of its latest expression, Vinata Solar, the world’s first mezcal to be produced entirely with solar energy. The clear, unaged mezcal was distilled by master mezcalero, Gerardo Ruelas, in a proprietary repurposed tractor turned solar panel-powered still in the state of Durango. Produced from Agave Cenizo, the resulting spirit has a suggested retail price of $89.99.
Mix up a no-waste cocktail.
Bars generate plenty of waste, but savvy mixologists are using ingredients that might have otherwise been thrown away. For instance, the Banana Peel Old Fashioned, created by Monkey Shoulder U.S. Brand Ambassador Anna Mains, calls for 2 oz. Monkey Shoulder Scotch, ½ oz. of banana syrup made from banana peels, and 2-4 dashes black walnut bitters.
To make the syrup, dice up some banana peels and combine with equal parts sugar in a jar and let sit overnight at room temperature, or for 4 to 5 hours at least. When the sugar crystals have dissolved, blend everything in a blender, then strain liquid out using a cheesecloth.
We also like the Apple Core Sour from Finlandia vodka. Finlandia’s master mixologist Pekka Pellinen makes a Cutting Board Collins, using a shrub with lemon, lime and grapefruit peels, sugar and apple cider vinegar. He mixes 1 part of vodka with 2 parts shrub and tops it off with soda water.
Finlandia just announced a new partnership with river cleanup organization Living Lands and Waters and is making a $30,000 donation to support LL&W’s efforts. The vodka brand’s commitments to sustainable practices have placed Finlandia on track to achieve complete carbon neutrality in its distillation process by 2025.
For more Earth Day ideas, check out some of our Easy Earth Day Cocktails.