Drink Wine – Help Restore Oysters!

L to R: Ellie Baker (formally of TNC); Amanda Moeser (TNC); Simone Barley-Greenfield (NHDES /PREP ); Berlin Crystal Kelly & Brian Thurber (Proud Pour), on the docks at Adam’s Point during a site visit in August. Photo by Jill Farrell from PREP.

Wine drinkers rejoice – now while you sip on a lovely Sauvignon Blanc you’ll be helping to restore oysters to Great Bay. We’re really excited to announce the launch of a new partnership that will be benefiting the Great Bay Oyster Restoration Project headed up by The Nature Conservancy and UNH with support from PREP and CCANH.

Oysters are a keystone species in the Great Bay Estuary because they provide many benefits. As filter feeders, they take in the water around them, filter out some of the pollutants and sediments and then release cleaner water. When healthy, an oyster can filter up to 20 gallons of water a day. They play a key role in nutrient cycling taking up nitrogen into their shells and tissue. Harvesting and aquaculture farming of oysters provide economic benefits to local communities and businesses. Oyster shell reefs also create important habitat for other creatures in the estuary. Oyster populations have declined significantly from 1993 to today. The oyster restoration program has successfully restored more than eighteen acres of reef and 3.5M oysters to the system since 2009. In recent years the team has scaled-up efforts, with as much as five acres and 1M oysters restored annually.

To help with this scale up, we started to explore additional sources of funds, and over the summer we were able to connect with the awesome folks at Proud Pour company a wine and social mission business brand based in New York and Boston. Berlin Kelly founded Proud Pour in 2014 as a way to connect her passion for high-quality, sustainable foods and wines with her concern for the environment. She had begun creating fermented beverages as part of New York City’s Homebrewer’s Guild, and the lightbulb went off one evening when she was drinking wine, eating oysters, and watching ShellShocked, a documentary about the oyster’s decline and efforts in New York to restore it. Soon after, Proud Pour was born.

Each and every bottle of Proud Pour wine has an oyster shell with a hand written note hung from its neck. Photo from Proud Pour website. 

Since launch Proud Pour has partnered with oyster restoration projects in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine and now..New Hampshire! For every bottle sold Proud Pour gives funding to support the restoration of 100 oysters. In New Hampshire this funding will go to support TNC’s phenomenal oyster conservationist program. The volunteer program has folks living around the Great Bay Estuary who use their docks, boats or moorings to help in raising a cage of baby oysters over the summer months. Once these babies reach a certain point they get planted to the restoration site in Great Bay.

And, just last month aboard the Gundalow Piscataqua TNC along with volunteers, oyster conservationists, partners and others launched 40,000 oysters to be planted in the bay! Read more HERE about the awesome event!

This partnership with Proud Pour is a wonderful example of the private sector helping to solve social issues. There is a growing field of support for this ‘shared value’ movement, we’d recommend this article and this TED Talk to learn more about this growing movement. It’s partnerships like this that need to be established in order to tackle the big issues facing the environment.

So, are you thirsty yet? We’re really thankful to the local restaurants and retailers who are carrying the Proud Pour wine in NH, their support for this project and for a healthier Great Bay cannot be understated – we have an AWESOME community here!

CLICK HERE for the most current listing of where to buy and enjoy Proud Pour in New Hampshire and southeastern Maine. And if you’re sipping we’d love for you to share a photo on social media using #CheersToChange and #KeepingGreatBayGreat.

We can’t thank of a better beverage to go along with these fabulous Great Bay oysters at Franklin Oyster House than a fresh glass of Proud Pour.

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.