While I’m not big on trends or fads (will someone PLEASE tell me who this Justin Bieber character is? I have no clue!), there are a few bandwagons I’m happy to hop on. Organic, sustainable farming is one of them. I’m guilty of feeding my children processed macaroni-and-cheese more often than I care to admit, but I try very hard to fill them with healthy foods, preferably from a source I know. I know my garden and what it took to grow our carrots there. I like buying fair-trade coffee (not always organic, but that’s another story of its own) and knowing that the earrings I bought my sister for her birthday were made by a fellow mom in her own home. I can’t always stick to these ideals, but it means a lot to me to try.
That’s a very long-winded way of introducing tonight’s wine: Clif Family Winery & Farm’s 2008 Climber White. Yes, we all know Clif for the delicious snack bars, (Oh my god, the carrot cake bars are to die for!) but I have a feeling we’ll soon know the Clif Family even better for its wine.
A little bit about the Climber White: I tasted it without reading the description and found a fascinating blend of tastes that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Fruity and melony like the sauvignon blanc I suspected made up most of the blend, but with a delicate note of honey and flowers that I just couldn’t quite figure out. So I cheated. I read the description and found that it’s primarily sauvignon blanc (88 percent) with 4 percent muscat, 3 percent riesling, 4 percent chardonnay and 2 percent chenin blanc.
My palate isn’t trained well enough to pick up the minute presence of chenin blanc or to differentiate the chenin blanc from the chardonnay. But I KNEW there was something delicately floral in it, and that’s the muscat.
Clif Family owners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford have been making Clif bars for, well, a long time. But they opened their St. Helena, Calif., winery in 2008 with the mission to “craft unique, regional wine and foods using practices that care for our earth; to support growers who use sustainable, organic farming methods; and to contribute to a more vibrant, healthy food community.”
Clif sources its grapes from local growers that raise organic or sustainable grapes. While the winery doesn’t yet grow its own grapes, it supports farmers that mirror the winery’s own dedication to good-earth practices. Besides wine, Clif Family runs a farm that raises turkey and chickens and grows olives, fruits and vegetables — all organic, naturally. AND all the farm vehicles are bio-diesel. Yeah, baby! And they sent the wine (bottled in lighter-weight glass bottles) to me in recyclable, not-excessive packaging.
Sure, you could say this is just a fad, but isn’t it a smart one? (and I’d argue that it’s NOT a fad, it’s a smart business choice) Shouldn’t we support local farmers whose kids we help send to college by buying their produce? When we eat an apple, wouldn’t it be nice to know we’re only eating an apple, not chemicals and dyes?
Ok, I’ll get off my biodegradable soapbox. And I’ll drive my admittedly not-so-eco-friendly SUV (hey, I can’t do it all!) to the store and stock up on the Climber White for my next family barbecue. My family may not know they’re drinking my philosophical statement, but I’ll smile knowing that my $14 is supporting another family and protecting our earth. Who knew you could get all that in a bottle of wine?