One of my favorite gifts I’ve gotten recently is a bottle cutter. I haven’t yet perfected the technique of getting a perfectly straight cut (it’s harder than it looks!) but I have visions of making all sorts of handcrafted glass projects, such as napkin rings, drinking glasses, and vases.
To fuel my newfound hobby, though, I’m already running out of wine bottles to practice on. I’m thinking a wine-tasting party might be just the ticket to get a stash of empty bottles in a hurry! And, of course, since I’m feeling virtuously green by finding a good way to repurpose my empties, I can’t just serve any wine. I’ll seek out wines that are made with as little impact on the environment as possible. The next time you need to pick up a bottle of vino, here are some affordable options I’ve found:
1. Bonterra Organic Vineyards. Bonterra, based in Mendocino County, is one of the most readily available and affordable organic wine labels. It’s even sold at Trader Joe’s! The company has been making its 100 percent organic wine for more than 20 years, and even offers some biodynamic wines.
2. Envolve Wines. Founded by three friends (one of whom you might recognize from his appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette), this organic and biodynamic winery in Sonoma has some really admirable sustainability practices.
3. Grgich Hills Estate. Grgich Hills Estate makes estate-bottled wines from its five vineyards in Napa Valley. Since 2006, the winery is almost 100 percent powered by solar panels. It was a chardonnay made by Mike Grgich that triumphed over French wines in a historic blind tasting in Paris in 1976, gaining American wines grudging respect in the wine world.
4. Alma Rosa Winery. This certified organic winery in the Santa Rita Hills is known not only for its sustainable viticulture techniques, but also for going above and beyond to be green. The winery uses a universal bottle shape (rather than different shaped bottles to distinguish different wine types) to save on production waste, and its winery building is made from sustainable adobe bricks and recycled timber. One of its vineyards, La Encantada, has become a refuge for wildlife,
5. Wine on Tap. My wine-drinking friends are all excited about a new offering from our little neighborhood wine shop: wine “growlers.” Wine is bottled in a 32- or 64-ounce jug, which can be brought back in for a refill. Wine on tap is becoming a bigger trend across the nation (perhaps the oenophile’s response to the newly popular beer growler). It doesn’t help my bottle-cutting habit any, but it’s a great option to cut down on wine packaging.
And once you’ve quaffed that delicious wine, you can reuse or upcycle the bottle.
- Self-watering planter. This is the idea that kicked off my bottle-cutting obsession. Cut a wine bottle in half, invert the neck into the bottom half, and it creates a cute mini planter, just the right size for a windowsill! If I ever master my cutting technique, I plan to line my kitchen windowsill with herbs.
- Special bottles deserve special display. This Old House recommends filling meaningful bottles with sand and using them as bookends. I think this would be particularly charming on a shelf filled with cookbooks!
- Create a vase. No cutting is involved to turn a wine bottle into a bud vase. I love the idea of a yarn-wrapped vase (which is also a great way to make use of leftover yarn from a project), and this chalkboard vase is also clever.
- Hold a candle. There are countless ways to turn a wine bottle into a candle holder or tiki torch. WineEnthusiast.com sells kits and accessories to turn your most beautiful bottles into a light source.
- Don’t forget the corks! Last summer we shared 8 ideas for repurposing wine corks. I love the idea of these X and O wine cork stamps that Martha Stewart shows how to make in this video.
Need more inspiration? I pinned a bunch of wine bottle DIY ideas to my Green Living Pinterest board.