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April 18-24, 2007

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Go Green (Valley)

By Patricia Lynn Henley

To move past standard Earth Day fare, try the exotic "world street food" menu paired with local wines at the first-ever Green Valley Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. It's a dual celebration, because effective April 23, Green Valley of the Russian River Valley becomes an official wine appellation, one of the smallest in Sonoma County. Eight Green Valley wineries--De Loach Vineyards, Dutton Estate, Dutton-Goldfield, Emeritus, Hartford Court, Iron Horse, Marimar Estate and Orogeny--are hosting this wing-ding in both high and green style. "It's the Tiffany of Earth Day celebrations," laughs spokeswoman Dawnelise Regnery. Rather than Tiffany blue, this event is done up in environmental green, with a detailed eye for treading softly on the earth.

The food by Iron Horse chef Christopher Greenwald will be homegrown or come from within a 25-mile radius. Power will be supplied by a portable solar energy unit. Choices for transportation to the event include walking up the oak tree- and vineyard-lined property, riding in a horse-drawn wagon or being a passenger on a biodiesel van. Utensils will be biodegradable. Everything used to prepare and stage the event will be either recycled or composted. The prize in a paperless raffle will be $4,000 worth of energy from PG&E.

Net proceeds benefit Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, National Geographic Society, Rainforest Action Network and the Leakey Foundation. Each will have informational booths at the event, and National Geographic is bringing in a team from Washington, D.C., including TV host Boyd Matson. Other honored guests include State Parks commissioner Caryl Hart, San Francisco Chronicle environmental writer Glen Martin and eco-entrepreneur John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolates (samples served at the celebration). Eat, drink and be green, saving the world one glass at a time on Sunday, April 22, at Iron Horse Vineyards. 9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol. 1pm to 4pm. $50-$250. 707.887.1507. . . .

Putting the emphasis on those who make local vintages possible, Benziger Family Winery will donate 100 percent of its April 22 tasting room profits to Vineyard Workers Services, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for local farmworkers. "Their reverence for nature and connection with the vines continue to inspire me," Mike Benziger says of his vineyard team. 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. 707.490.2739.

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