The Wine Institute’s Dedication to the Certified Sustainable Program
Living in California, I often take for granted at how cutting-edge we are. Terms like sustainability, Eco-friendly and non-GMO are fast becoming buzz phrases throughout the country at last. Yet, several roots for conservation and sustainability lay in my golden state. I was reminded of this when I got to attend the Sustainable Summit luncheon with the Wine Institute last week. Just in time for Down to Earth Month. And, at the Disneyland Resort, no less!
The impressive guests in attendance included Secretary Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Caroline Beteta, President and Chairman, Visit California, Steve Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Peter Work, Ampelos Cellars, Helen Jaco, Environmental Integration Representative at Disneyland Resort and Gary Maggetti, California Adventure General Manager.
The Wine Institute
Founded in 1934, the Wine Institute is dedicated to sustainable wine growing in California. In 2010, the Wine Institute introduced Certified Sustainable. Eighty percent of the grapes grown in California are sustainable and over seventy five percent of wineries are following sustainable practices. These numbers are only increasing. Administered by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), this means that participating wine makers have taken action in order to deliver the best wine possible.
Some of the steps to be certified include visits from a third party audit who ensure that the best practices are being met to grow sustainable wine and grapes. Alternatives for pest management must be exhausted before trying other conventional options, winery and vineyard water use is monitored and conserved and wildlife habitats are protected.
What does sustainable wine mean to the consumer?
This means that when you are enjoying your glass (or 2) of vino, you can rest assured that all efforts were put into place to not add more stress to the environment. Rather, thanks to Certified Sustainable, steps are in place to give back to the planet through rigorous recycling and waste management laws. Much like the USDA’s National Organic Program.
I was in for a treat for our luncheon. I have only had the pleasure of visiting the lobby of Disneyland Resort’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Today, I would be dining at their exquisite Napa Rose restaurant. Certified Sustainable wines were served from Ampelos Cellars, Ponte Winery and J. Lohr Vineyards and Winery. Needless to say, They were fantastic. And, as someone who is very much into eating with minimal pesticides, it was comforting to know I was in good hands.
When I arrived at Napa Rose, I was immediately offered a glass of Ampelos’ 2017 Rosé of Syrah. With Rosé having its moment as of late, I’ve had my fair share. Yet, this particular glass? Bright, fruity, like a Rosé. But, something extra was there that I loved. I found out it was a touch of Riesling that made it ‘pop’. It was an excellent bottle to sip and enjoy as we mingled and made our way to our seats.
I felt like I was in a ‘whole new world’ (see what I did there?) at Napa Rose. Disneyland Resort certainly knows how to bring a touch of California wine country to Orange County . Subdued, laid-back vibes await you. Ideal for a romantic evening out. If you’re looking for a touch of sophistication without a full dining experience, you’re in luck. They also offer their Napa Rose Lounge where guests can sit at the bar or by the fireplace while enjoying light bites and a cocktail. While reservations are highly recommended for dining, the lounge requires none.
Sustainable Summit Luncheon
The luncheon began with pan roasted Monterey County petrale sole and veggies. Accompanied with a glass of Ponte Winery’s 2017 Arneis. This was an exciting moment for me as I had yet to experience a glass of this extremely hard to grow white wine.
Arneis is an Italian grape that is grown in the middle of…red wine country! While you may not commonly see it as you cruise the supermarket aisles, it’s definitely worth finding. Bringing to mind a bit of a Pinot Grigio, its notes were subtle and floral on the first nose. My first taste revealed a lot of pear. When I had a sip after a bite of my sole, I really noticed the lemon peel that its known for.
Our main course featured a winery we all know and love. Who hasn’t tried J. Lohr? This California favorite is one of my go-to’s at the store. Their 2015 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon was a great choice to pair with Napa Rose’s Harris Ranch Angus filet.
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
How can you dine at the Disneyland Resort and not go into the theme parks?! We were in luck as Disney cast members took us on a tour of California Adventure’s Food and Wine Festival. Even more convenient, you can enter the park directly from the Grand Californian Hotel.
With the festival having returned three years ago, General Manager Gary Maggetti explained just how important it is. It’s all about celebrating the authenticity of California’s diversity of food, wine and beer. Now in partnership with the Wine Institute, foodies and Disney lovers can rejoice with a plentiful of options for sustainable wine and food.
Food booths like Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo and I Love Artichokes are perfect examples of the efforts the Disneyland Resort have put into place. While visitors may not necessarily visit the resort for the cuisine, it’s certainly an aspect Disney wants you to remember when you come and vacation with them.
While the festival will return next year, Disneyland Resort has plenty of equally fabulous events happening. Including Pixar Fest, which is just in time for the Incredibles 2!
Learn more about the Wine Institute and their ongoing efforts for Certified Sustainable HERE.
(*Disclosure: Special thanks to Girl Meets Grape for having me at this wonderful luncheon. All opinions are my own.)