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The Sonnenalp is committed to do all that they can to keep environmental conservation as a priority in all aspects of their operations.  The Sonnenalp wine program is always looking for new and creative ways to practice sustainability, from initiating a wine cork recycle program to buying wine from organic producers.

The Sonnenalp cork recycling program is dedicated to keeping cork, a reusable product, out of landfills.  All of their restaurants, along with banquet functions, recycle our cork. They are also the only official public cork recycling drop off center in the Vail Valley. During fiscal year 2012, the Sonnenalp recycled 4,950 corks. Once they collect a full bin - 1650 corks, the Sonnenalps' partner Vail Resorts picks up the corks and stores them in their recycling center. When enough corks are collected, they are sent to ReCork, their recycling partner.

ReCork is a nonprofit organization which has collected over 36,000,000 corks and has planted 7844 trees. The ReCORK program is sponsored by Amorim of Portugal, the world's largest producer of natural cork wine closures, SOLE, a leading manufacturer of footwear products, and Amorim’s U.S. sales affiliates – Amorim Cork America and Portocork America. The goal is to recycle cork and to educate and inform audiences’ about the crucial role cork forests play in curbing climate change.

Natural cork, the kind used in wine closures, is a perfect choice for recycling. It’s 100% natural, biodegradable and renewable. Recycled cork can become flooring tiles, building insulation, automotive gaskets, craft materials, soil conditioner and sports equipment. Because of a worldwide interest in sustainable agriculture and natural products like cork, an alliance of concerned businesses, individuals, and ecological organizations has been formed to address the opportunities to recycle natural cork closures.

Sustainable purchasing is a Sonnenalp priority.  Forty-five percent of the wine purchased during the 2012 fiscal year was grown and vinified in the Western United States. Buying products made close to home helps them as a company to reduce their carbon footprint.  During fiscal year 2012, the Sonnenalp began buying Trinity Oaks wines for banquet functions. California based Trinity Oaks plants one tree for every bottle of wine purchased, and has already planted over 7 million trees. Since switching to Trinity Oaks wines the Sonnenalp has been responsible for planting 540 trees.

Purchasing wines of high quality that come from great producers is key focus to the Sonnenalps' wine program. This fall the Sonnenalp will clearly labeling wines on our wine lists that are Certified Organic, Sustainable or Biodynamic to help guests make informed wine selections. Moreover, it is also their goal to switch to an electronic wine list which will allow us to save many trees in the future.

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