6 sustainable champagnes to pop on New Year’s Eve

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There’s nothing quite like an effervescent sip to make this time of year feel special. If you care about the environmental impact of the liquid in your glass, rest assured that the world’s foremost AOC for sparkling wine is committed to sustainability. Champagne as a whole promises to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025 and convert every one of its vineyards to sustainable agriculture. But many houses have gone much further. This holiday season, why not indulge in bubbles produced using earth-friendly practices?

Related: 8 great holiday cocktails that are festive & cheery

Drappier Brut Nature Sans Ajout De Sufre

Champagne’s first carbon-neutral estate is powered by solar panels, sports electric car charging stations, and has switched to bottles 15 percent lighter than previously, to decrease the greenhouse gases of its glass production and transport. The Drappier family is converting their 110 holdings to organic production, but all the vines are farmed without chemicals, using cover cropping, hand weeding, and horse-drawn ploughs. That level of care shows in this zero-dosage, zero-sulphur Champagne. Bright as all get out and remarkably fruit-forward with a subtle sweetness that distinguishes it from other, more brash Brut Nature’s, it’s like biting into a fresh, cold Fuji apple. An excellent aperitif wine, it will prime your guests’ palates for the holiday feast. $44

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Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee No 745 Extra Brut

Champagne Jacquesson was a giant of the 1800s—allegedly Napoleon’s favorite bubbly and, by mid-century, producing a million bottles. Today, it is owned by the Chiquet family, who have committed to organic farming practices, using cover crops and canopy management to keep weeds and mildew at bay. The No 745, a Pinot-heavy blend made with 2017 base wine, is unfiltered and unfined. Its bubble unfolds in a mouth-filling effervescence, with jammy flavors of apricot confiture. It’s a gorgeous bottle that can be sipped throughout the meal. $64

Champagne Henriet-Bazin Blanc De Noirs Meunier

“Conventional vines are living in a graveyard,” says Champagne Henriet-Bazin’s Nicolas Rainon. “That method wants to disconnect farmers from their first job: looking at nature.” Rainon’s wife, fourth-generation chef de cave Marie-Noëlle Rainon-Henriet, farms biodynamically, using cover crops, agroforestry, and homeopathic treatments to shore up the biodiversity that supports her vines. Made from Pinot Meunier grapes grown in a single plot located at the top of the Vallée de l’Ardre’s sunny, limestone slopes, this bottle offers a nose full of lily flowers, a tropical fruit mid-palate, and a long, briny finish that keeps you coming back for more. It’s a match for fatty fish and buttery, creamy dishes, so pair it with a salmon terrine, or even lobster Thermadore, for a luxe New Year’s meal. $44

Perrier-Jouet Classic Belle Époque 2013

A house that always strives to stay at the forefront of sustainability is experimenting with regenerative agricultural practices, has committed to zero-carbon shipping via sailboat, and is packaging its wines in bottles that are 85- to 100-percent recycled. This well-rounded, vintage Champagne—a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend with 9 percent of Pinot Meunier included—has the autumnal feel you want from a holiday sparkler. A persistent bubble gives it a big, creamy mouthfeel, and the flavor evokes a mixed berry jam slathered on buttery brioche, resolving to an orange-zest zing on the finish. It’s great with mushroomy, umami-driven dishes. $279

Related: 7 international sparkling wines for when champagne is out of the budget

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésimé 2008

As part of its B Corp certification, Charles Heidsieck has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, chemical-free farming, gender equity and diverse hiring, and other initiatives that ensure its for social and environmental sustainability. Undergirded by a mineral structure, this vintage rosé starts off with austere earth and evolves to a fresh, fruity palate combining raspberries, Meyer lemon, and pineapple. If you can’t find the 2008, buy a newer vintage. “Just put it away and forget about it for 15 years,” says cellar master Cyril Brun. Depending on the vintage, it will help your holiday ham shine now or in the future. $124

Champagne R. Dumont & Fils Brut Nature

Having cut his teeth at Roederer, third-generation winemaker Laurent Dumont returned to the Côte des Bar to convert his family estate to biodynamic farming and, with his wife Delphine, to create an agrotourism business to bring life back to their sleepy village. The experiences the young couple offers include truffle hunting in the surrounding forests, which support the biodiversity that Dumont finds so important to the health of his crop. From 50 year old vines planted by his grandfather, Dumont’s Brut Nature is “almost sweet,” he says, “as if it does have sugar.” Aged in barrels made from oak sourced in the local woods, it’s round and smooth with a red-berry brightness. It’s a match for all of the holiday’s sweet sides. $51

This article originally appeared on AlcoholProfessor.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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50 realistic New Year’s resolutions

 

 

It’s the New Year, which is the best time to reflect on all the money things you did (or didn’t) do in the past 365 days and set financial goals for next year.

New year, new you, right? As we think about what 2019 will bring, we also think about improving our money habits.

If you don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of 50 realistic money resolutions to get you started on tackling all of your goals next year.

 

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Whatever major goal you set — like paying off debt or saving more — make sure you break it down into specific and attainable elements. Define what you want to achieve, like paying down $100 of credit card debt each month or only spending a certain amount on eating out every week.

 

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An oldie, but a goodie. A budget is the easiest way to keep track of how much you’re spending and saving — try this easy spreadsheet to get started.

 

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Going cash-only makes it easier to track where your money is going and set spending goals. Here’s a quick explainer on how to go cash-only.

 

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Of course some of your paycheck should go to bills and essentials, but paying yourself (meaning setting some funds aside, whether for retirement or a vacation) is going to help you feel the reward of the work you did to earn that check.

 

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Even if it’s just a small portion of your paycheck, saving a little can go a long way. A good rule of thumb is contributing 20% of your paycheck to your savings — but follow these tips and you can save up to 30% of your paycheck (mostly) without trying.

 

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Credit card rates have hit a 20-year high. Make a plan to shrink your balance before interest grows too fast. (Again, by being granular with how much you’ll put toward the balance.)

 

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If you aren’t paying attention to how much you’re spending by getting lunch with coworkers or picking up dinner on your way home, it can be detrimental to your budget. Instead of saying you can’t do this at all, just figure out how much you’re comfortable spending on this line item.

 

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Cutting back on buying coffee is one of the most overused financial tips, but we don’t think you have to stop going to your favorite coffee shop. Instead, drink the office coffee or some from your home machine to save just a bit each week.

 

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Taking the time to cook up all your lunches over the weekend pays off during the week — both in time and in money. If you aren’t sure what to make, try this $1 lunch recipe or this easy chili recipe that will last you until Friday.

 

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If you’re putting your money in a savings account, make sure it’s paying you the best it can in interest. One option is to check out online high-yield savings accounts, which tend to offer higher payouts.

 

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Instead of worrying about moving money over to savings when you get paid, see if your finance department can automatically deposit a set amount into a different account. This way, you don’t have to think about saving.

Pro tip: Make the account at a different bank that you don’t frequent so you are less tempted to access (aka spend) these funds.

 

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Even just boosting this up a percentage point can save you big over time, thanks to compounding interest. If your employer offers 401(k) matching, make sure you’re taking advantage of it.

 

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If you’ve left your retirement money in a bunch of old 401(k) accounts, you may be able to lower your expenses and expand your investment options by rolling the money over into an individual retirement account. Start by contacting your employer to find out how.

 

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Saving for retirement isn’t just for those with 401(k)s. Make 2019 the year to open an IRA and set up automatic contributions so you never forget. Don’t know where to start? Check out this easy guide to opening an IRA.

 

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Pro tip: The annual maximum contribution limit went up starting Jan. 1, 2019, from $5,500 per year to $6,000.

 

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Make sure you have a balance of low-to-high risk investments to protect your money.

 

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You may feel young and healthy, but anything can happen. Long term disability insurance is income protection if you’re unable to work for a long stretch if you become disabled, and something every working person should look into.

 

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Get all your bank, credit card and other billing statements sent to your inbox instead of your mailbox to get rid of clutter. You can usually request the change via your online account.

 

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Your credit score, that is. It can affect things like insurance rates and home loan interest. Check your score a couple times a year to make sure you’re financially healthy. If you are worried about your score …

 

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It may take some time, but you can improve your credit score by paying all your bills on-time, keeping credit card balances low, limiting new credit applications and disputing errors on your credit report. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this guide to improving your credit score in 30 days or less.

 

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Whether you’ve got cash back or flight rewards, make sure you’re redeeming them instead of letting them sit idle.

 

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Goodbye late fees!

 

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After all, you don’t want to pay for a charge you didn’t make — also, charges you don’t recognize are often a sign of identity theft.

 

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The Internal Revenue Service has a calculator that uses pay stub information to tell you actually how much your should be paying them during the year.

 

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Online legal sites can help you create a will in a matter of minutes. There are other ways to protect your family after you’re gone, like …

 

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Don’t know where to start? Try this crib sheet for getting financial protection for your family.

 

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Only drink half of your coffee in the morning? Start ordering a smaller size. Instead of getting pizza delivered, go pick it up. You may not notice a small price difference on individual purchases, but it adds up over time.

 

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Not only is doing this good for your health, but it can save you money in more ways than you might realize, like lowering your life insurance rates.

 

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Sometimes, FOMO gets the best of us when we can least afford it. Don’t be afraid to say no to a night out with friends if you need to save money — they will likely understand, and your wallet will thank you.

 

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Not every money resolution needs to be about scrimping and saving. In 2020, make sure you enjoy the money you have, too. Set up a ‘splurge fund’ for all the fun you plan to have this year.

 

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Make it a habit this year to not shy away from the topic of finance and savings with your spouse or significant other. Being transparent about finances may help your financial future and your relationship.

 

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This year’s storms and wildfires caught revealed many homeowners were underinsured. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes to see if you’re covered — review your policies now.

 

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While you’re at it, shop around your car insurance to make sure you’re getting the best rate and coverage for your car.

 

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To avoid expensive surprises, read your policy carefully to find out exactly what is covered and what is not — like what hospitals and providers are in your network, and how much your out-of-pocket maximums are.

 

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Hopefully you won’t ever need to use this skill, but you’ll be glad you have it in case you do. Here’s an explainer on understanding a hospital bill.

 

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To your inbox, that is. One small money task can really add up over the course of the year. Sign up for this newsletter that teaches you one money thing a week to get started.

 

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An easy way to make sure you are on top of your payments is automation. Set up auto-pay on your recurring bills and never miss a payment. Many companies offer discounts for doing so.

 

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The hack to help you keep from getting hacked? Set super strong passwords. Here are some tips to strengthen your accounts.

 

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Find the courage to ask for a raise at your next review. If you’re job hunting now, read about how you can leverage your skills and experience to land a higher starting salary.

 

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Looking for ways to earn more money? Adopting a side hustle or doing freelance work on the side can boost your income. Don’t know where to start? Here are eight side hustles that cost nothing to start.

 

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There are many places to tap to get financial wisdom, from magazines to apps to financial planners. Finding the one that works for you can help you continue to improve your financial health.

 

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Considering replacing your old traditional light bulbs with something more eco-friendly and energy-efficient, like LED bulbs. Or, consider installing a smart meter in your home.

 

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Not only is cutting back on electricity use good for the environment, but it also saves you money in utilities and may even lower your homeowners insurance rates.

 

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It’s better for the earth and your wallet if you can fix your broken furniture and electronics instead of throwing them away. If something breaks, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer low-cost repair or find out if you can bring the item to a nearby
Repair Cafe.

 

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Cable is expensive — and sometimes unnecessary. Thanks to streaming services, you can get TV without cable and save money in the process. But, if you have 10 subscriptions and only use one …

 

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If you haven’t been on Netflix for a couple months or just want to take a break, you can pause your subscription until you’re ready to watch again.

 

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Out with the old, in with the new — go through all your memberships and subscriptions to see what you’re paying for that you don’t use. Think gym memberships, magazines, credit card fees and so forth.

 

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When it comes financial moves, it’s easy to put off tasks like paying bills or checking your credit score. But it 2020, you’ll find that it’s even easier to get these money tasks done now. Overcome your money procrastination with these tips.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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