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3 8 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t PHOTO: JESSIE BIRSCHBACH T H E C LEV E R R O O T ' S GREEN SEAL OF APPROVAL Now more than ever, it's important to support wineries that are socially and environ- mentally responsible. In each issue, we'll visit a different wine region and present a few of those whose wines taste just as good as the good they're doing. These wineries have received The Clever Root's Green Seal of Approval. Sokol Blosser One of the pioneering families of the Oregon wine industry, the Sokol Blossers first planted their vineyards in the Dundee area in 1971. Sustainability has always been part of their approach, and they don't just have the 86 acres of certified organic estate vineyards to show for it. Low-impact packaging and becoming the first winery in the U.S. to receive the LEED (Leader- ship in Energy and Environmental Design) aside, in 2015 Sokol Blosser earned the added distinction of being a certified B Corp, which is awarded to for-profit companies by B Lab, which honors rigor- ous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transpar- ency. Sokol Blosser is one of only four B Corp wineries in the U.S.. To dive into many other specifics regard- ing their sustainability practices, visit their website where you can even download their annual report on sus- tainability. On my recent visit, the beauti- fully powerful Sokol Blosser 2011 Big Tree Block Pinot Noir made these ol' eyes get as misty as the rainy weather. Domaine Serene The Evenstad family released their first vintage from the Dundee Hills AVA in 1990, an occasion gener- ally considered the world's first introduction to luxury Oregon wine. Despite this, a visit to the winery will feel cozy and down-to-earth. All six of their dry farmed estate vineyards are LIVE certi- fied. (LIVE is a third-party Oregon-based certification program implementing the standards for sustainable vineyard practices.) The Do- maine Serene 2008 Win- ery Hill Pinot Noir, grown at an elevation of 775 to 930 feet, certainly rose above the otherwise very difficult vintage for the area, showing restraint and elegance. Evening Land Evening Land has undergone a number of changes since being established in 2005, from the hiring of Dominque Lafon as a consulting winemaker (from one of Burgundy's most respected producers, Domaine des Comtes Lafon) to the shifting of vineyard holdings (sources in California and France were dropped in order to concentrate solely on Oregon) to a shift in ownership. As of 2014, with Raj Par and Sashi Moorman at the helm, Evening Land produces Pinot Noir and Chardon- nay exclusively from one of Oregon's most coveted grand crus, the Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola–Am- ity Hills AVA. The 62-acre vineyard is dry-farmed and LIVE certified as well as Biodynamic since 2007. The Evening Land 2015 Seven Springs Gamay Noir, made with some of the oldest Gamay in North America, is likely some of the best domestic Gamay you will ever encounter. And the label is very appropriately green! Willamette Valley, A Leader In Sustainability by Jessie Birschbach As this column embarks on its maiden voyage, there's no better place to start in the U.S. than in Oregon. Over half of Oregon's vineyards are sustainably farmed, and it also employs the most protective land use policies in the nation. The Willamette Valley, Oregon's garnet-blooded heart, includes the bulk of these vineyards, growing mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Recently, I visited Willamette on a wonderfully romantic, rainy and cold weekend. A partial view from the front steps of Sokol Blosser in Dayton A stay at the Vintages Trailer Resort could be described as glamping but it would be better labeled as time travel. The elongated cul-de- sac lined with trees and mid-century trailers is located in the center of Willamette Valley. Each trailer comes with tons of character, a barbecue, two bikes and many other thoughtful little ame- nities. A must stay when touring the area! ■cr

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