Red, white or green? An eco-friendly dinner: Part 1

By Jim Roth | Phillips Murrah P.C. | The Journal Record

[ AUGUST 23, 2010 – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK ] – Over the next three weeks, I want to blend two of my favorite things: eating and the environment. Naturally (no pun intended), these two things go hand in hand. It can be pretty easy to forget under the backdrop of oil, coal, and climate change how something as practical as food really is a “green” issue.

Every time I welcome guests into my home for dinner, I like to get the evening started with a little wine. Usually the choices are described as red or white. But you can really offer your guests green too.

There is a growing trend in the wine industry to not just make red and whites, but greens as well. In fact, wine makers across the country have begun to create eco-certifications. Producers have to show that not only do they create their wine using natural process, but that they also more generally promote green practices. So, to obtain the certification, the winemaking industry also looks at whether they draw on renewable energy sources for utility and what types of benefits they offer their employees. Also, certifiers look to see if the wine producers create a natural environment in which to grow grapes conscious of birds and other wildlife.

And, to make things better, Oklahoma has an amazing wine industry complete with eco-friendly producers. For example, Summerside Vineyards and Winery in Vinita off historic Route 66 grows, produces, and sells eco-friendly wine. Did you know that? Right here in Vinita.

Also, be sure to look out for restaurants and liquor stores that sell locally produced eco-friendly wines. Not only does this support the local economy, it promotes sustainable practices as well. Two worthy causes.

Occasionally, I’ll get a guest that isn’t a big wine drinker. No worries – I’m prepared. Organic spirits are also beginning to emerge more and more in the marketplace.

Organic growing of spirits generally comes from using grains that come fresh off the earth. Lots of green spirits are produced using fresh grains, vegetables, corns, and fruits instead of chemicals that can overly distill them. Also, producers of spirits will sometimes go the extra mile and make sure that their labels, glasses or containers, and even the cap on top is environmentally friendly.

This idea of eco-friendly wines and spirits might seem foreign, but it really has advantages. These practices not only help promote sustainability, they are also oftentimes better-tasting as a result of their fresh ingredients used in production. Plus, they are healthier. A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away – or something like that.

Living a sustainable life extends beyond the spectrum we often hear so much about in the news: It’s not just about energy for machines and cars; it is also about the energy – food products – we buy for our own engines.

So invite your friends over, offer them a green pre-dinner drink and settle into some good company during these long August nights.

Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma corporation commissioner, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah P.C. in Oklahoma City, where his practice focuses on clean, green energy for Oklahoma.