Earth to Ukiah

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By Robert Farmer


It's fairly obvious that, although Earth Day is officially April 22, what is less known is that April is actually Earth Month. But what everyone ought to know is that every day is actually Earth Day. We have one planet. We have one chance to make it work. So it is that I continually bring up the subject as it relates to Wine Country. Because when it comes to the wine industry, the connection to the earth is top on the list of Things That Are Important.

April has brought us many interesting events and ideas in Wine Country related to Earth Day, including one in Mendocino, where grapegrowers and winemakers officially adopted the slogan "America's Greenest Wine Region." That point may be up for discussion among the various eco-friendly winegrape growing regions in the country, but Ukiah is apparently walking the walk as steadily and as confidently as any of them.

"While other regions are scrambling to create self-certification programs and attending seminars on "going green", we're celebrating the fact that we were green before it became a marketing concept," Ed Berry, Jr., chairman of the Mendocino Winegrape & Wine Commission said publicly this month. "Our grapegrowers and winemakers, like the rest of the farming community here, have personal ties to the land that sometimes spans four or five generations. It has always been about sustainability and ensuring that family farms are healthy for the present and future generations."

And it is not just hyperbole. Ukiah's green cred is borne out by numbers. Consider: Eighteen percent of Mendocino County's winegrapes are certified organic - that's more than 300% organic than any other region and fewer than 1 percent of Mendocino's 2.4 million total acres are under cultivation. Meanwhile, Mendocino offers many claims to green fame, including being home to the nation's first organic winery, home to the nation's first solar-powered winery, and home to first carbon-neutral winery in the U.S. Yes, in Ukiah and Mendocino County, Earth Day comes 365 times a year. To learn more, check out

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