Global Green Room Interview: Kevin Morrisey

interview_kevin_morriseyEhlers Estate makes wine from 100% certified organic and biodynamic grapes in Napa Valley and they're a sponsor of our Pre-Oscar Party on February 20, where we will be serving their 2012 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc at our Patron Dinner. Below, we talked to Ehlers Estate winemaker and General Manager Kevin Morrisey about his work. How did you become environmentally conscious? The consciousness is just there, like being conscious of anything. The trick is acknowledging it, acting on it, and living it in everything you do. When it comes to acting in an environmentally conscious way, like trying to come home from the grocery store without any new plastic, my wife has been a major inspiration for a long time. I'm also lucky to work at a place where I'm able to embrace and employ an environmental consciousness in the business and with the whole staff.

What would surprise us about your work? It might be surprising to hear that farming Napa Valley Cabernet vineyards organically is not really any more difficult or expensive than farming them conventionally. We have an amazingly conducive environment for organic farming, and wine grapes are generally a pretty resilient crop. There is already a lot of hand-work required to farm this level of winegrapes, so in order to convert to certified organic farming all you really need is the will and the desire to do it.

Who is your green hero? You mean like, The Green Lantern, Shrek, The Hulk? Seriously though, Peter Proctor, who has traveled across India training farmers to train other farmers about organic and biodynamic farming, increasing soil fertility, thinking and acting sustainably, getting his hands dirty at farm after farm, changing one mind at a time, with a dream and vision for real global change. His work is truly heroic.

What has been a recent work success or accomplishment? Every time we bottle these wines there is the satisfaction of knowing that the contents are pure clean hand-grown food, no synthetic chemicals, no industrial inputs, just fermented organic grapes. People are putting the output of my work into their very bodies -- I take that seriously. People love working here, too. I consider that a great accomplishment.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be? Reduce consumption, everywhere. We are consuming 150% of what the Earth can supply. The easiest way to reduce our footprint is to conserve more, use less. Also, I'd like to get the influence of money out of our politics. Our system makes it very difficult for our leaders to implement the green changes they believe in.