Following LODI RULES for Earth Friendly Wines: McKay Cellars Grenache #EarthMonth

By now, everyone on Planet Earth probably knows that April is Earth Month.

And with so many of us practicing #SIP — as in Shelter in Place not Slurping in Place — the only where we can celebrate Earth Day and Earth Month is at home.

So at home it is! With a nice Earth friendly wine in our glasses whether we are #SIP with family or virtually!

This month, as we do most Aprils, we’ve featured as many earth friendly wines as we can: for example, last April we wrote about

And this April we wrote about

  • Italy’s beyond biodynamic vegan La Maliosa  wine and olive oil
  • Sustainable AUS Shiraz from Yalumba, Two Hands, and Wirra Wirra
  • White wines from around the world
  • Waipapa Bay wines which help save whales and dolphins

We covered the earth, yes?

But for the next two posts, wines will all be from CALIFORNIA because April is also “Down to Earth Month in the California wine world, a time to celebrate the state’s leadership in sustainability. Because they can’t welcome you with festivities for now, many California sustainable wineries are offering discounts on wine and shipping so you can continue to enjoy their products at home,” writes the California Wine Institute. Check out their awesome list of offers from California’s sustainable wineries that you can order from the comfort of your couch or pick the wine up if you’re in the neighborhood.

We’ll start off with a wine from Lodi. If California is one of the leaders in the US, then Lodi certainly must be recognized for developing the “Lodi Rules” program way back in 1992 when a group of farmers “launched a grassroots program aimed at reducing pesticide use through education of the vineyard ecosystem, commonly referred to as integrated pest management (IPM). After more than a decade of research and contributions from farmers, viticulturists, and leading environmentalists, this IPM program of humble beginnings led to the creation of America’s first sustainable winegrowing program – LODI RULES.”

Participants in LODI RULES seek to work with nature, rather than in opposition.  One of these strategies harnesses the energy of beneficial insects to combat disease via IPM. To use the good bugs agains the bad bugs requires creating habitat that will attract them with a healthy habitat. Lodi farmers can enhance their vineyards to entice the beneficial insects.

To invite beneficial insects to your yard, follow the lead of Lodi: 

  1. Allow for a non-toxic and natural approach to managing common garden pests.

  2. Restore biodiversity to your garden and yard.

  3. Provide an opportunity to give back natural habitats in spaces where they may have been removed from landscaping.

In Lodi some of the beneficial plants include narrow leaf milkweed which is a ghost for Monarch butterfly caterpillars, yarrow, California poppy, sage, coyote brush, and yellow lupine. These provide food and habitat for insects including green lacewing, bumblebees, ladybugs, and beetles.

This Earth Month join Lodi farmers and your family in providing or restoring habitat for beneficial insects by planting diverse seeds or constructing a bug hotel which could be a fun project whether you are stuck at home or not. Start saving those toilet paper rolls and corks!

For inspiration and advice, check out the following:

Of course while you’re building your bug hotel or researching beneficial insects, you should have a glass of wine that reminds you that LODI RULES! For your consideration, how about the McKay Cellars Grenache?

2016 – McCay Cellars  Grenache Mokelumne River Lodi
13.8% alcohol; SRP $35
sample for my review consideration
“I believe through the practice of Native Fermentation the terroir of the vineyard is given the opportunity to show off it’s true character,” says owner and winemaker Michael McKay.
Current case production is 4,500 cases with grapes coming from six different vineyards for Zinfandels and a line of Rhone varietals (Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Carignane, Grenache, Cinsault, Petite Sirah and Syrah).
The grapes for this wine com from the Abba vineyard and were grown by Love and Phil Abba.

Color: Lightly translucent, red with a fuchsia rim

Nose: Cherry cola, Dr. Pepper. “When I usually smell Grenache, I get the perfumes and the florals; this is different,” remarked Sue.

I felt that this was a heady Grenache; it really captivates its audience. Lovely nose, spice Cecil Bruner roses, carnation. As the wine opens up raspberry wafts through the air.

Palate: Sue right off the bat said “The palate is spicy” and I agreed, cayenne, of sechuian pepper spice, there is definitely a kick to this wine There is fun spice and then the fruit

Pairing: With boar sausage — plummy fruit yummy goodness! On a subsequent evening, I picked up some bolognese from our favorite local Italian restaurant, Ferraro’s, with some additional marinara and smoked chicken sausage. More yum!

Learn more about certified California sustainable wine-growing from this video produced by the California Wine Institute.

Learn more about what makes a wine sustainable in California here.



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