Due to ideal grape-growing conditions in the middle of the state, Washington has over 1,000 wineries and is second only to California in premium wine production. If winding down with a glass of wine is part of your routine, why not support local, sustainable businesses while your at it?
Finding Earth-friendly wines means considering both the vineyard where grapes are grown and the winery where grapes are turned into wine. LIVE is the premier sustainability certification for wineries and vineyards in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This non-profit third-party certification organization is accredited annually by the International Organization for the Biological and Integrated Control of Noxious Animals and Plants (IOBC). Click here for LIVE certification standards and processes.
Of the 1,000+ wineries in Washington, only seven are currently listed as LIVE certified, and only 23 vineyards currently meet LIVE standards. The most sustainable wines are made from LIVE certified grapes at LIVE certified wineries.
Some of these wines bear the following logos, but others don’t, which makes them difficult to identify. We sifted through the LIVE winery and vineyard list to identify the most Earth-friendly wines made in Washington State.
More of a beer drinker? Check out our sustainable Washington breweries list.
LIVE certified wine by winery
Logo hunting is one way to find Earth-friendly wine, but why not narrow the search by starting with wines made at LIVE certified wineries? As mentioned above, only seven of the 1,000+ Washington wineries are currently LIVE certified, so that streamlines the process quite a bit. Many of these wineries have tasting rooms, tours, and banquet centers make a great eco-friendly getaway or wedding venue.
LIVE assesses the following criteria for wineries: records and training, grape sourcing and enology, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, materials management, water management, worker health/safety/benefits, and community impact and education.
Location: Winery and tasting room in Woodinville, Washington
Sustainability highlights: Washington’s oldest winery, Chateau Ste Michelle is EnviroStars certified in addition to LIVE and Salmon Safe. Its sustainability overview can be found here and includes water saving practices; recycling programs for odd materials like stretch wrap and cell phones; automated energy savings practices; and electric vehicle charging stations at its tasting room.
Wines to look for: Both Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards have been live certified since 2009, so Chateau Ste Michelle wines from either vineyard are especially sustainable. Those wines include:
- 2014 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot
- 2015 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2016 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay
- 2016 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay
- 2017 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling
- 2015 Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Location: Winery and tasting room in West Richland, Washington
Sustainability highlights: Double Canyon opened a new wine-making facility in 2017 which saves energy with LED lights and skylights; washes its barrels using recycled water, steam and ozone; uses automated temperature control and pumps; and converts its solid winery waste into compost for its vineyard. The winery is in located close proximity to its vineyards and amenities to reduce transportation emissions. Double Canyon’s vineyard is LIVE certified as well.
Wines to look for: Any wine from the Double Canyon vineyard, including:
- 2015 Double Canyon Vineyard Syrah
- Double Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (2013-2016).
Sustainability highlights: Amavi is a LIVE certified winery that uses sustainably farmed grapes from LIVE certified Pepper Bridge and Les Collines vineyards to produce estate wines. At one point, it was one of two gravity-flow wineries in the state, a system that reduces the need for pumps. Its Walla Walla winery and tasting room has a Tesla Supercharging station on site.
Wines to look for: Wines featuring grapes from Pepper Bridge and Les Collines vineyards, including:
- Les Collines Syrah (2012-2017)
- Late Harvest Sémillon
- Cabernet Sauvignon (2012-2017).
Location: Winery and tasting room in Prosser, Washington
Sustainability highlights: 14 Hands winery is both LIVE Salmon-Safe certified. In addition to sustainable wine-making practices, it sources from vineyards that use cover crops to attract beneficial bugs, disease resistant grape vines to reduce the need for sprays, and environmentally friendly pest control agents. Its vineyards have hosted research trials in collaboration with Washington State University.
Wines to look for: 14 Hands doesn’t list specific vineyards for its wines, so it’s tough to identify their most Earth-friendly wines. However, since the winery is certified, any 14 Hands wine is among the state’s most sustainable. Keep an eye out for their new line of wines packaged in recyclable aluminum cans called Wineski.
Location: Winery in Pasco, Washington
Sustainability highlights: LIVE certified since 2012, Claar Cellars Winery’s T-5 bay lamps use half the energy of its old metal-halide bulb lamps, and it’s winery building and barrel room are “heated and cooled with ground water and excess heat produced by the glycol cooling system.” It’s variable speed glycol pump turns on and off automatically based on usage, halving its energy usage. All grey water is reused for irrigation. Claar Cellars was named one of Washington State’s 50 greenest companies by Seattle Business Magazine in 2012. It’s White Bluffs and White Bluffs 2 vineyards are LIVE certified.
Wines to look for: Claar Cellars has four wine families: Claar Cellars, Ridge Crest, Le Chateau and Nicola’s Redmark. Look for the following bottles:
- 2015 Claar Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon made from 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2012 Claar Cellars Late Harvest Riesling awarded in the 2013 Eco-Friendly Wine Challenge
- 2013 Claar Cellars Winemaker’s Bloc made from 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2013 Claar Cellars Sangiovese made from 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2016 Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot made from 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2012 Claar Cellars Pinot Grigio awarded “Best Buy” in 2013 Eco-Friendly Wine Challenge
- 2015 Ridge Crest Cabernet Sauvignon made with 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2015 Ridge Crest Merlot made with 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2015 Ridge Crest Syrah made with 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
- 2014 Le Chateau Chardonnay made with 100% White Bluffs Vineyard grapes
Location: Winery and tasting room in Walla Walla, Washington
Sustainability highlights: LIVE Certified and a member of VINEA, Northstar is regarded as Washington’s premier producer of Merlot. In 2019, it installed the state’s first Biofiltro BIDA wastewater recycling system which recycles 100% of its wastewater using 95% less energy than traditional methods. Northstar sources its grapes from a wide variety of vineyards and regions, largely within Washington State.
Wines to look for: Northstar is well known for its Merlots, but it is tough to pick out which is of its wines are more sustainable than others. However, you can blend your own sustainable wine through the Northstar Blending Experience.
Location: Winery in Walla Walla, tasting rooms in Walla Walla, Woodinville and Vancouver, WA.
Sustainability highlights: LIVE certified, vegan and a founding VINEA member, Peppery Bridge Winery is built into a hillside and uses gravity-flow instead of pumps throughout much of the wine-making process. Its estate vineyard – Pepper Bridge Vineyard – is LIVE certified.
Wines to look for: Pepper Bridge Vineyard Blends (2011-2016) are made from 100% Pepper Bridge Vineyard grapes; however, those vintages are only available to its wine club members. Look for Pepper Bridge Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons containing a high concentration of grapes from LIVE certified Pepper Bridge Vineyard.
Are we missing your favorite wine, winery or vineyard? Let us know in the comments section or on our contact page.