Wine aficionados know their vino: the right labels, the right vintages, the right food pairings. Now they can incorporate their desire to be eco-conscious into their love of the grape. From caring for their favorite bottles to decorating their home, wine lovers will find many new ways to go green-even with a bottle of red.
Today's appliances are undergoing a major evolution from energy hogs to energy-efficient racehorses, and wine refrigerators are no different. With new technology in the units, keeping your wine at the optimal temperature no longer takes a toll on Mother Nature's resources. For instance, Miele and Vinotemp offer wine refrigerators free of ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, or hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, plus the coolers feature dual-paned glass windows, which provide better insulation and UV protection. As a result, they use less electricity, leaving you with lower electric bills.
Another way to show your love of all things wine is with pieces made using recycled wine items, like barrels and bottles. Yesterday's barrels are finding new lives as Lazy Susans, chairs, tables, candleholders, wine racks and more. Wine bottles, too, are transforming into fresh new merchandise like glassware, vases, candleholders, cheeseboards, lamps and wind chimes, to name a few.
For the last 14 years or so, designer Kathleen Plate has recycled wine bottles-along with soda, beer and salad dressing bottles-into unique jewelry pieces. Now she has extended her collection to include home decor, crafting distinctive lamps, chandeliers, pillow covers and wall art. Why wine bottles? "I love the colors," Plate says. "I think the palette is amazing. There's something magical about glass."
Plate, who collects bottles from everywhere (she even has friends and acquaintances who drop off boxes of bottles at her front door!), felt that home decor was the next logical step up from jewelry. "I wanted to take it to the next level and see the larger application," Plate says.
In addition, many wine-related products are being manufactured with sustainable and/or Forest Stewardship Council-certified woods. For example, Miele's wine refrigerators feature shelving constructed of Acacia wood, a durable hardwood harvested from fast-growing trees. Also, designer Laurel Hoover uses FSC-certified black walnut to create her distinctive wine rack table.
Yes, wine lovers do appreciate a fine wine with that perfect meal. And, just as they pair the right varietal with their entree, so, too, can they combine their affinity for all things wine with their desire for an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Cheers!
By Karon Warren