Sustainability has become the new (green) gold standard for Bay Area restaurant cooking.
But what about the wine list? Most restaurants consider only what pairs best, with little--or no--attention paid to sourcing or methods of production.
Enter a new breed of beverage programs in the eco-minded East Bay, thanks to a handful of restaurants with wine lists as sustainable as they are value-minded:
Bellanico lists 21 wines (mostly Italian) that are organic, biodynamic or sustainable--or some combination thereof. All the bottles match nicely with the rustic Italian home cooking. Case in point: a glass of the big 2006 Pravis Rebo ($9)--an organic Teroldego-Merlot blend--alongside gnocchi with oxtail sugo. 4238 Park Blvd., Oakland; 510-336-1180 or bellanico.net
Encuentro, a vegetarian tapas bar, is a recent addition to the ever-burgeoning Jack London Square. The international wine selection emphasizes small, eco-friendly producers. Try the rustic, biodynamic 2007 Domaine Poujol ($8) Languedoc red with any dish featuring cheese. 202 Second St., Oakland; 510-832-9463 or encuentrooakland.com
Gather, Berkeley's hottest new restaurant, is now open in Cal's Brower Center--the East Bay's greenest building. Owners Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster hired noted San Francisco sommelier Christie Dufault to advise on the sustainable list, which features all California selections. For delicious value, sample the austere Copain Pinot Noir ($9). 2200 Oxford St., Berkeley; 510-809-0400 or gatherrestaurant.com