Just about every liquid and edible product can have a green, eco-friendly bent – wine is no exception. Vineyard managers can choose not to spray chemicals onto the grapes, for example, and some wineries adopt biodynamic principles, adhere to certified-organic standards or rely on animals such as hawks for pest management.
Because Earth Day (April 22) is right around the corner, I checked out the wine list at Café Manna, a 4-year-old restaurant with a vegan, gluten-free focus tucked into a Brookfield strip mall. Armed with a Café Manna lentil burger and a side of roasted, cubed squash in lieu of greasy, salty French fries, I sipped from a glass of Evolution White, a white-wine blend from Sokol-Blosser Winery (Dayton, Ore.), which happens to be owned by a Whitefish Bay native. But even better than the Dairy State ties is the winery’s commitment to acting green: In 2002, it became the first U.S. winery to achieve LEED certification. All of Café Manna’s wines by the glass are either organic or sustainable – from a bright, fresh Sauvignon Blanc (Angel’s Wing Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California) to Niepoort Ruby Port (Douro Valley, Portugal).
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
Bay View is loaded with happy-hour deals, but for wine lovers there is only one place to be: Pastiche Bistro & Wine Bar (www.pastichebistro.com). If you sit at the bar from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, you’re in for a sweet deal. Appetizers are half-priced and there are not-to-miss specials on glasses of wine.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
Mason Street Grill is hosting a wine dinner on April 12 that you won’t want to miss. Elizabeth Vianna – winemaker at Chimney Rock Winery in the storied Stags Leap District of Napa Valley – is flying in for the occasion. Executive Chef Mark Weber will whip up a five-course dinner that’s carefully paired with the wines. (Note: It’s going to include some mouthwatering dishes like Loch Duart Scottish salmon with braised trumpet mushrooms and Berkshire cracklins, and Reilly Bros. Angus dry-aged tomahawk rib eye with creamy grits and roasted garlic rapini.) The night kicks off with a 6 p.m. reception and dinner a half-hour later. To get your ticket ($85) call Mason Street Grill at 298-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINE OF THE WEEK
If you ask me, Pinot Noirs from Oregon are an ideal springtime wine to help transition from bolder, more intense red wines of winter to delicate, bright white wines of summer. The 2011 Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley and Umpqua Valley, Oregon, $15) features smoky, crushed-black cherry notes, along with bing cherries, and a savory, light-bodied palate that evolves into fine tannins. (www.unionwinecompany.com)