Gathering around the table looks a lot different this year. From virtual toasts to strategically separated seating, winter’s hottest entertaining trend is the socially distanced dinner. But a little distance needn’t dim the glow of socializing, nor the eco-minded sensibility of sustainable choices.
The coziest of gatherings are still centered around the joys of great company, delicious food and wine, and beautiful décor — no matter how far apart everyone sits. And, a virtual meal can still pull together stylish and sustainable elements that lessen the impact on the earth, while exuding grace and warmth.
Set the table, set the tone
A table that is equal parts welcoming and sustainable starts from the reclaimed wood up. It’s easy to green your winter table with simple eco-chic touches like an organic cotton runner or an upcycled centerpiece. Thoughtful elements made from sustainable materials, like reusable bamboo dinnerware or jute napkin rings, create a lovely, neutral palette. And if you’re using recycled glass for your stemware, why not fill it with earth-friendly wine?
Swirl and sip sustainably
Thanks to eco-conscious wineries who value sustainably grown fruit, what you pour may be the greenest element of your winter table. Here are three labels leading the sustainability charge, from California to Chile:
Bonterra Organic Vineyards — American organic winery Bonterra began farming organically in 1987, decades before organic products became a mainstay of modern life. The team, led by Vineyard Director Joseph Brinkley, focuses on nurturing biodiversity, soil health and balance in the vineyards, all in the name of pure organic flavor in the glass. Instead of tractors, sheep mow the cover crops around Bonterra’s organically farmed vines in Mendocino County, California.
Fetzer — An early pioneer of sustainable farming, Barney Fetzer founded his eponymous winery in 1968 and helped shape the quality and environmental consciousness of California wine. More than 50 years later, Fetzer is synonymous with classic American wines rooted in an abiding commitment to people and planet. Much of the fruit that goes into a bottle of Fetzer wine is sourced from certified sustainable vineyards throughout California.
Cono Sur — Half a world away, Chile’s Cono Sur is an emblem of sustainable farming and winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere, with a dozen certified sustainable vineyards that dot the country’s vast north-south expanse. Nestled amid the first-ever Pinot Noir vines planted in Chile more than 50 years ago, Cono Sur is globally recognized for its Pinot Noir offerings.
Here are some top picks for winter wines that check all the boxes: sustainably sourced, delightful on the palate and deliciously suited for hearty, cold-weather fare.
Bonterra 2019 Chardonnay, California
Bright stone fruit and citrus zest are framed by subtle notes of toasted oak and crème brûlée in this organically farmed California Chardonnay. A rich and creamy palate is balanced by uplifted acidity and clean minerality. A go-to white for roasted game.
Fetzer 2019 Shaly Loam Gewürztraminer, Monterey County
America’s #1 Gewürztraminer lives up to its reputation with exotic notes of melon, rosewater, candied ginger and a touch of warm cinnamon spice. This sustainably sourced and fragrant white from the cool-climate vineyards of Monterey County is equally suited for a turkey feast or spicy pad Thai.
Cono Sur 2018 Organico Pinot Noir, Chile
Crafted from organically farmed, estate-grown fruit in Colchagua Valley and San Antonio Valley, this medium-bodied Pinot Noir delivers intense wild fruit aromas of cherry and raspberry, layered over nuanced notes of toasted oak. Sip this elegant red with poached salmon, roasted duck or a nutty Gruyère cheese.
Bonterra 2018 Merlot, California
Ripe fruit notes of strawberry and pomegranate are framed by a subtle suggestion of dried herbs. Elegant tannins and a smooth finish make this organically farmed, robust red a winter favorite. Pour it alongside braised meat or tomato pasta.
No matter how your gatherings take shape this winter — from a few people at the table to a few households connected by virtual screens — you can still embrace all the elements that matter most: the people you love, memorable conversations, delicious food and wine, and sustainable style.