Planet Friendly Green Wines For Your Holiday Table

With the holidays upon us, and all the shopping that entails, why worry about picking the perfect wine for your festive table? There is enough pressure already, what with everyone’s dietary restrictions and preferences. Focus rather on selecting a variety of wines you and your guests may like no matter what is on the menu. Planet Grape Wine Review, America’s first female-led wine review platform, is a good place to start. Their latest book, Ten Grapes to Know, The Ten & Done Wine Guide, includes nearly 400 easy to find, well-priced recommended wines. Or, you can narrow the focus to “green” wines that are planet friendly.


Three Tiers of Green Wines

“Green” wines are made in one of these three regulated tiers, Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic, or SOB. A hot new category is “natural” wines, the idea being wines free of any harmful additives, but unfortunately, the term “natural” on wine has no legal parameters. The other three categories, however, do have legal parameters.

  • Sustainable Farming

This is an all-encompassing, holistic approach. Plants, animals and humans are interconnected and respected. Resources such as energy and water come from within the closed circle as much as possible. In California, SIP Certified is widely used, with Lodi Rules and Napa Green certifications mainly used in those regions.

Baby Doll Sheep at Certifiable Sustained Winery, Yealands Estate. Photo Courtesy Yealands Estate
  • Organic

Organic as a word applied to wine has to be studied closely. There are organically grown grapes, and then there are organically processed grapes. Most wines labeled as “organic” are made with clean grapes but may have additives and preservatives in them from processing, or winemaking. In California, CCOF is the certifying board for organically grown grapes. Look for an official certifying credential on the back label of any wine that says “organic.”

  • Biodynamic Farming

Biodynamic farming works with the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon and planets. It has zero-tolerance for anything other than natural additives at any point in the growing of the grapes or of the processing of them into wine. Demeter is one certifying board, but again, look to the back label to be sure there is an official credential.

Below are some great choices of green wines from each tier for you to try.

Certified Sustainable Wines

green wines
2018 Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc Clarksburg California | 90 points, $16

Light, silky, tingly and dry with notes of mandarin orange, golden delicious apple, yellow rose and honeysuckle.

green wines
2018 Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc Block S1 Awatere Valley Marlborough New Zealand | 92 points, $29.99 – Buy at for $13.99

Juicy, savory, fresh and dry with notes of lemon zest, guava, starfruit, fresh tarragon, coriander seed and sea spray.

green wines
2017 McIntyre Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Monterey California | 92 points, $28

Beautifully balanced with both creaminess and tingly freshness and notes of lemon curd, honeycomb, graham cracker and buttercream frosting.

2018 Halter Ranch Rose Adelaida District Paso Robles California | 90 points, $28 – buy at

Fresh, juicy and dry with notes of pink grapefruit, raspberry, nectarine, watermelon and pink rose.

green wines
2017 Baileyana Firepeak Pinot Noir Edna Valley Central Coast California | 91 points, $20 – Buy at

Rich and vibrant, fresh and dry with notes of cherry cola, mint, vanilla and violet.

green wines
2016 Tasca Lamuri Nero d’Avola Sicilia Italy | 92 points, $22

Full, supple, fresh and dry with notes of cherry, red licorice, red rose, cumin, caraway and walnut. Vegan.

green wines
2016 Wrath Syrah San Saba Monterey California | 92 points, $39

Full, luscious and supple with notes of blueberry, boysenberry, sage leaf, mushroom, espresso bean and dark chocolate.

green wines
2016 St. Amant Old Vine Zinfandel Mohr-Fry Ranch Lodi California | 97 points, $18

Very rich, full, intense and dry with a light chewiness and notes of strawberry, blueberry, gala apple and peach, cumin, clove, coriander seed, mushroom and dried flowers.

Certified Organic Grapes

green wines
2017 Anatolikos Vineyards Malagousia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment Thrace Northern Greece | 92 points, $45

Organic, unfiltered and intensely aromatic. Lightly chalky, fresh and dry with notes of honeydew, peach, passion fruit, white rose and lilac.

green wines
2018 Cono Sur Pinot Noir Chile | 91 points, $12 – Buy at

Elegant, dry, tart and fresh with notes of cranberry, cherry, bay leaf, mushroom and clove-studded ham.

2016 Villa Maria Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Hawke’s Bay New Zealand | 91 points, $17

Supple, lightly chewy and tart with notes of cassis, black olive, dark chocolate and maple wood.

2016 Quinta do Vallado Quinta do Orgal Douro Superiore Portugal | 91 points, $39.99

Dry and velvety red with notes of raspberry, blackberry, brown mushroom, cumin and cedar. Organic.

Certified Biodynamic Grapes

green wines
2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc Central Coast California | 91 points, $20

Lean, tart, fresh and dry with notes of lemon, mango, starfruit, just-ripe pineapple, thyme and pine needle.

2016 The McNab by Bonterra McNab Ranch Mendocino California |90 points, $55 – buy at

Ripe, chewy and dry Cabernet-Petite Sirah blend with notes of blackberry, cassis, moss, cedar and salumi.




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