The past month has been nothing but a celebration for us. Living Aware’s grassroots growth has been swift and amazing. We have had two birthdays in our group, mine included. As with any great celebrations in life, you make a toast to all the wonderful things that have happened and to the inspiring and fulfilling course that lay ahead.
So, you may ask, “what are you toasting over there at the Living Aware headquarters?” We have been blessed, and I do mean blessed, to live in a beautiful part of the world that produces amazing wines and makes sustainability a priority. DeLille Cellars, is one of the best vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and they are creating some of the best wines I have had recently.
We opened a bottle of their Doyenne AIX 2009 to enjoy while at sitting fireside at Alderbrook Resort & Spa. This wine is a deep and rich in taste as it is in color. The powerful bouquet of spice and fruit are perfectly paired together for a big body wine. The winemaker mastered the blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and a bit Mourvedre in making a wine that is delicious and with a superb finish.
What is equally important as the wine itself is their policy towards sustainability and their comprehensive plan to achieve it at the highest levels. Something we learned from their site is that Washington wines have the upper hand for organic farming because of their environment of our area, please read the excerpt below.
It is important to note that Washington State due to its own nature is one of the most environmentally friendly wine growing regions in the world. In large part because of the lack of moisture in Eastern Washington, mold and mildew pressure is much lower than most vineyard regions. This means that we can cut down on the use of sulfur and copper as compared to other areas. Our sandy soils stop pests like phylloxera, so we can plant vines with natural rootstocks. Our colder winters also prohibit other pests like sharpshooters from spreading, so we can control them without harsh chemicals. Stating this, Washington State is not without any pests and disease issues that may threaten our crops and need environmentally sound solutions.
We are positive that DeLille Cellars and their vineyard partners will be successful in their L.I.V.E. and Salmon Safe Certifications and their complete full integration of sustainable farming very soon. We will cheers to that!
I am so exciting to be driving down to Portland for another important conference on sustainability. Not only is this sold-out event dedicated to, Women Reshaping the World, but it is being held in such a vibrant city that embraces a green lifestyle. The conference is being hosted by the International Living Future Institute allowing for brilliant minds in the green building movement that are creating and seeking solutions to the most daunting global issues to come together. This incredible forum for learning and networking formats will provide visionary design methods, innovative technical information, and the motivation needed to achieve meaningful progress toward living aware.
Many of you may remember that we went down last autumn for the amazing EcoDistrict Summit which is one of the world’s premier annual conference dedicated to urban sustainability. During that awesome event we were not only able to listen to inspiring speakers like Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, but we were also able to network with city officials, designers, innovators and an array of other like-minded people who are pushing boundaries for greener cities. In turn all of those amazing individuals and no doubt, the attendees of the Living Future Conference, are creating a greener way of life for communities spread around the world and link us together.
During our last visit we stayed at The Nines Hotel, a lovely and luxurious LEED Silver Certified property in the heart of Portland. We dined at their amazing organic/local/sustainable restaurants Departure and Urban Farmer, as well some others around town like Pok Pok and Bamboo Sushi which are some of my favorite restaurants to-date. On this trip we are resting at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco, just a block or so from, The Nines. While the property is not LEED Certified, its service is spectacular and it offers a plethora of luxurious green amenities. For shopping, the Pearl district was full of amazing boutiques like Woonwinkel that we will be sure to stop in on during this trip, as well as search out new shops on the scene.
Stay tuned, we will have a lot more coming on the Living Future Conference and being green throughout Portland.
What an amazing day we had today rediscovering Whidbey Island. The sun was shining, the weather was cool, but not too cold, allowing us a rare chance in early spring to stroll the small downtown of Langley. Langley, is a gem on the south end of this long narrow island and while the downtown is fabulous, one of the highlights is on the way off the ferry heading into town at the Whidbey Island Winery.
This boutique winery was established 20 years ago and produces an array of beautiful wines from Pinot Gris to Port. One of my personal favorites is a light, fragrant, fresh white wine that is made from grapes procured on their vineyard called, Island Wine. It would be the perfect wine to be paired with an amazing line caught white fish or cage-free, organic roasted chicken. While this wine isn’t “certified” organic, Leah, in the tasting room explained how they produce their organic grapes on site and under the winery’s control. The conviction for sustainability on the farm and in the community is a labor of love and you can tasted the pride in their wine. The bottle was a well priced $13, which of course we bought to take home and include in one of our You Are What You Eat recipes at a future date. Visit the island, the winery’s tasting room, and buy some wine to share with friends and family.
We have been on the hunt for delectable local, organic wines for some time and it hasn’t been until recently that we have stumbled onto some very good ones. One in particular is Parducci’s Sustainable Red from California’s Mendocino County. Parducci has committed themselves to sustainable winegrowing practices and is the first carbon neutral winery in the USA.
Parducci’s ecofriendly methods allow them to produce top quality grapes for their wines while protecting the environment. It just makes sense that sustainable farming practices result in healthier soil, balanced grapes and higher quality wines. Any other fruit they include in their wine making is sourced from the finest family farms which in turn help support their local community and economy. The vineyard prides themselves on using 100% green power to produce their wine, recycling 100% of the winery’s waste water via an on site wetland, and finishing and distributing the bottles in earth friendly packaging.
Parducci hasn’t just received awards for amazing wines, but for California’s highest environmental award, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2007 and 2009. You can order direct online or pick it up from your local Whole Foods for about $12.
Quoin, a great little bar attached to the simple and beautiful restaurant, Revel. We stopped in last night to enjoy a cocktail by the beautiful outdoor fire since the sun decided to grace us with its presence. We arrived to find out that it seemed like everyone else had the same idea, the cozy little bar was packed with the beautiful people of Seattle. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the few bar stools you can order some bites from the amazing Revel menu. Quoin also serves a fabulous selection of House Infused Soju that changes flavors seasonally for $8. If you’re not familiar with soju, it a distilled beverage that is similar to vodka, just a tad sweeter that originated in Korea. Their current soju infusions are Asian pear, mint, thyme Lemongrass, Thai basil Cherry ginger, and my favorite sage Meyer lemon. Check out Quoin’s daily happy hour from 4-6pm that offers a $1 off wells, beers, glasses of wine and a $7 selection of cocktails that is always rotating. Go, enjoy, be a patron.
We got the inside scoop last night that the adored spirit company, Organic Nation is expanding beyond its Oregon borders and heading to Washington. Organic Nation is first certified organic artisan micro-distillery of vodka and gin in the Pacific Northwest. This purveyor of pure spirits isn’t just organic, they were the recent recipient of the prestigious Gold Seal at the annual Good Food Awards in San Francisco. As luck would have it, the change in the Washington State liquor laws will allow us to see their fabulous beverages conveniently being sold at your local Whole Foods Market.
Diane Paulson, Organic Nation’s Founder sums up her amazing products beautifully in this quote. “Our spirits are the product of a pristine wilderness watershed, local grains and botanicals grown in some of the richest soil on Earth, and a heartfelt intention to create cocktails that are as good for the earth as they are in the glass.”
Don’t forget to contact your neighborhood Whole Foods Market to ensure they will be stocking up on their Organic Nation. As Diane would say, “enjoy and sip responsibly, sip local, sip organic”!
The best flavor for the money in Fair Trade, organic, coffee is Trader Joe’s Breakfast Blend. It is smooth, delicious and the perfect way to start the morning. The only thing I wish was different with this Trader Joe’s product, like a lot of the other products they sell, is the packaging. In a perfect world all of the packaging would be able to be recycled or composted in its entirety.
Another one of my favorites is a local producer called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Their House Blend is made of organic beans that are bought through Direct Trade practices. While it is just slightly pricier than Trader Joe’s, it is a favorite among coffee loving Seattleites.
Before hitting our reservation at Bamboo Sushi, in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, we wanted to see what else the area had to offer. A quick recommendation from a friend landed us at a locals spot called, Beulahland. It is a great dive bar without being too “divey”. It is a cozy place decorated with quirky art and pinball machines. Beulahland serves local micro brews, house infused vodka, and Painted Hills beef burgers. Our nice bartender said the burger was a house favorite and we should definitely try it. Considering we just had a huge grass-fed beef burger at Urban Farmer for lunch earlier that day and we were anticipating a healthy sampling of sustainable and environmentally friendly sushi, we decided to put it on our list for the next time we are in town.