Green Grapes

Petite Sirah and Chardonnay from Concannon Conservancy

Although emerald-hued beer is festive, it's rarely delicious.

This St. Patrick's Day, there's a way to show your Irish pride while safeguarding your taste buds. This year's liquid of choice is a conservancy wine from Concannon Vineyards.

More than a century ago, James Concannon became the first Irish immigrant to make wine in the U.S., planting 40 acres of Château d'Yquem cuttings in the rocky soil of California's Livermore Valley. Four generations on, Concannons still work the vines.

In a like-minded nod to history, the winery produces four superb bottlings for its conservancy collection. Each wine is made from grapes grown on land held in a conservation trust, which protects the vineyards from urban encroachment.

Our favorites, the Conservancy Chardonnay 2009 ($15) and the Conservancy Petite Sirah 2008 ($15), are both an extraordinary value. The former is warm from its time in French and American barrels and flashes a touch of citrus and a lightly toasted finish. The latter features chewy berries, brown sugar and mocha. Thanks to time spent in 60-year-old French white-oak casks, it tastes like a wine that could be aged for another five to 10 years, but drinks beautifully even now.

So raise a glass and toast "Sláinte" to holiday drinking free of green dye.