Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brussel sprout and bacon recipe

If any of you know me, outside of work, then you know that I have been on this brussel sprout kick lately. I can't seem to get enough of them. Whether I'm roasting them, sauteing them with bacon or cooking them with pasta, they have become a large part of my diet in the past two weeks. I guess it just goes to show me that my mother really did know what she was talking, about all those years ago, when she kept telling me to eat my brussel sprouts because I would love them one day. 

This is one of my new favorite recipes. I’ve tweaked it a bit from the recipe found on the ZaZu Restaurant and Farm page. ZaZu is a sustainable restaurant down in the heart of the Sonoma wine country. Last time I was in California I happened to stumble across this place. A cute little find with wonderful food and a surprise find of our 2007 “Artist Series” Cabernet Sauvignon on their wine list!

Brussel sprouts and bacon salad

4 ounces pepper bacon, cut into chunks
4 cups brussel sprouts, cut off the ends and quarter or shred them
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 apple, diced
3 tablespoons roasted, peeled and roughly chopped hazelnuts
1 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons gorgonzola
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, cook the bacon until browned, roughly five to ten minutes. Add the brussel sprouts and cook until tender, I usually toss with the bacon in the drippings and then cover and let steam for ten minutes or so. Add the shallots and open up their fragrance, about 1 minute. Take off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, apples, hazelnuts, gorgonzola and extra virgin oil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I ended up pairing this dish with our 2009 Estate Reserve Chardonnay.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Sustainability is best defined as the capacity to endure and to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It integrates three main goals - environmental health (minimal and safe chemical use), economic profitability (being profitable), and social and economic equity (being a good neighbor and employer).

With people paying attention to labels such as sustainable, organic and biodynamic, wineries are starting to incorporate these practices into their every day farming. We, at Woodward Canyon Winery, have been utilizing sustainable practices at the winery and in our Estate Vineyard for years. In fact, Rick was one of the pioneers in the Walla Walla Valley when it comes to sustainable farming. 

In 2004, Woodward Canyon was a founding member of VINEA, the Walla Walla Valley Winegrowers Sustainable Trust. VINEA is an organization made up of volunteer winegrowers and wineries that have embraced the concept of “ecologically sound, economically viable and socially supportive.” VINEA has also partnered with Oregon LIVE for third party certification. LIVE is a not-for-profit organization that provides education and certification for vineyards.

In February of 2008, after a two year certification process with VINEA and LIVE, we were certified sustainable by the International Organisation for Biological Control. The IOBC was established in 1955 to promote the use of sustainable, environmentally safe, economically feasible and socially acceptable control methods of pests and diseases of agricultural and forestry crops. This organization sets the protocols from which LIVE draws its standards. Additionally, LIVE applies with the IOBC for international endorsement each year.  

Here are just a few ways that we are sustainable at the winery and in the vineyard.
  • Up in the vineyard we utilize all organic fertilizers and chemicals. We also re-introduce natural cover crops back into the vineyard and hillside as we try to prevent erosion. We use drip system watering to help reduce the amount of water that is wasted to evaporation.
  • At the winery we are using eco-friendly wine bottles for roughly 90% of all our wines. These bottles are lighter, take less energy to produce and are less expensive to ship both when empty and filled. We have also joined forces with the Walla Walla Wine Alliance and ReCORK by Amorim in recycling all of our used corks. We’ve also offer a location where our customers are able to drop off used corks for recycling.
  • And the socially supportive runs true for all the employees. Everyone receives sick and vacation leave, along with medical and other benefits.  Family is always stressed to come first no matter what. And if you’re from the Walla Walla Valley you’ve probably heard about our pizza lunches, which we’ll sometimes whip together for the employees or other events. For me, pizza lunches are one of my favorite perks to working at Woodward Canyon, though the access to good wine isn’t too bad either!
We will always strive to be sustainable at the winery, however I’m curious what your thoughts are on the whole sustainable movement? When you’re looking for that bottle of wine for dinner - does wine with the ‘sustainably farmed’ or ‘organically farmed’ label entice you to buy?