On Tuesday, Kimpton Hotel Ink48 invited media and hotel guests to partake in an extended version of their Wine Hour, a perk that they offer their hotel guests complimentary. The service is offered to create more of a home away from home environment, which also gives staff an opportunity to interact with guests in a different way. In honor of the forthcoming Earth Day on April 22nd, this particular event was called “Sustainable Sip.” It was organized to showcase five wines under the the Eco-friendly/sustainable umbrella that Ink 48 features.

The first wine that was sampled was Honig’s Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was crisp, light and tasted like a great summer wine. The winery stands out because Michael Honig helped develop the Code of Sustainable Practices for the Wine Institute and was one of the first wineries in California to get certified in Sustainable Winegrowing. Some steps they take to do this are incorporating animals to take care of issues that pesticides are usually brought in for, solar energy and recycling.

The second company is one that is already a household name and also featured this month during Wine Hour; Beringer. They had on hand their Moscato and Merlot and an upper tier wine, their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Although I opted for the upper tier option for tasting purposes, I think I would’ve much rathered the lower-end wine taste-wise.

French Rabbit, a wine know for its quirky, yet Eco-friendly, 100% recyclable “Tetra Prisma” packaging, sells for around $10.95 a carton and holds a liter of wine versus the usual 750ml in traditional wine bottles. It can be found in most of the larger wine retailers in the city, like Astor Wines. Pinot Noir, the variety that was sampled, had a smooth finish and would definitely be a great dinner party wine that could also double as a conversation piece.

If I’m going to be honest, I was most interested after reading the invite to hear about Adrian Grenier’s venture called, SHFT. It’s a company he’s a partner in that tries to convey the idea of sustainability through media. The SHFT House Wine is their first blend, but as far as I’m concerned the taste was not really memorable.

Kimpton must’ve saved the best for last since I have not stopped raving about Alex Elman Wines since the event! Although they had four wines to sample, their Torrontes and Malbec offerings were the best and stood out long after the night was over. The company is fairly new at a year old, but has already made some headway at some restaurants and distributors in the city. Alex said that a Chianti would be added to their wine family soon and they plan to branch out the brand into olive oil and products that make sense to market along with the wines.

Andrea Maranca, was on hand as a third-party wine expert to teach partygoers tidbits about wine tastings, wine pairings and was just an overall wealth of knowledge. One very important fact I got from Andrea was that during a wine tasting, a glass should be rinsed with the next wine. If rinsed with water, the wine will not taste as it was intended. When tasting, it is better to try all whites and then all red varieties or vice versa to keep similar tastes together. Also, having a palette cleanser in between different wines, utilizing bread or a mild cheese, will help to taste all components of that next wine. Make sure food pairings are not too potent, otherwise it will still interfere with the taste of the wine.

The event was a great success in educating attendees, both press and guests alike, on a sustainable lifestyle and also about the Wine Hour that they host. Ink 48 is creating a great atmosphere and hopefully other hotels will follow in the example they’re setting in building community while being environmentally conscious.

– Stephanie