SUSTAINABLE SATURDAYS : Sustainable Wine
It is our vision to minimize harm to our planet and become one of the most inspiring and socially responsible fashion and lifestyle brands. As we focus on doing our part in creating a healthy planet for our generations to come, we ask consumers to take a much closer look at what they’re buying and decide whether it furthers that goal. Today we are connecting responsible fashion with sustainable wine.
In the midst of a pandemic, we are reminiscing about the days where we would get dressed up in our best and grab a glass of wine with our besties, our lovers or our coworkers in our favorite restaurants. These days, we are mostly ordering wine to our doorstep! Either way, cultivating a sustainable lifestyle by integrating conscious thinking in all areas of your lives needs to be at the forefront. Slowing down and making sustainable purchases will have a great impact on our planet and our people. So let’s get to the wine! When you buy a sustainably-made wine, you’re helping to maintain healthy vineyards, protect the environment, and ensure the well-being of the wineries and winery workers. Quality is most prominent in rank when making your wine selections and when you are selecting a sustainable wine, you are making a selection that is both taste worthy and earth-friendly!
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE WINE?
BEST PRACTICES : Organic, Sustainable and Biodynamic certifications have principles that each carry a weight of importance. Organic certified refers to purity of product using non-synthesized ingredients, biodynamic certified credits holistic agricultural growth such as maintaining soil health and perfecting planting patterns, and sustainable certified sites waste mitigation, specifically water and energy efficiency. Sustainability goals encompass all of these principles and are much broader and challenging to unify because of the unique environmental stresses of different wine regions around the globe. Here is a snapshot of some of the most common sustainability (or responsible) certifications that you should look for when purchasing.
Sustainable wine production is a broad concept that includes the best practices mentioned to support the environment and the community for generations to come. Read on to learn more about some of the most important practices that are taken into account by sustainable wineries to generate the lowest impact on the earth as well as uphold the social responsibilities and values established to create harmony for communities.
Water Conservation & Soil Management: Nearly every step of the winemaking process involves water. By sustainably obtaining, using, reusing and discharging water, wineries can increase their commitment to the environment. Farmers that practice sustainable farming may enhance the moisture levels of their vineyard soil (and thus, reduce the need for irrigation) by mulching, applying composts or planting cover crops. Mulch and compost help retain water, and slowly leach it into the soil. Cover crops are planted in the vineyard to reduce the impact of rain falling directly on dirt, the cover crops help buffer the falling rain, allowing it to drip down the plant into the soil.
Energy Conservation: By using energy-efficient appliances and procedures and continuing to audit energy use, wineries can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. Several wineries have installed solar panels and other energy saving devices.
Carbon Emissions Reduction : Responsible wineries measure CO2 emissions generated by glass production as well as the weight of glass in transport of wine to its market. Many producers are opting for lighter-weight bottles, which saves cost as well as being more environmentally friendly. This change is estimated to have reduced glass usage by 16%, and carbon emissions by 14%. Many restaurants and bars are starting to serve wines from kegs, as they have found them to be a sustainable alternative to offering wines by the glass. Kegs release much less CO2 both in manufacture and in transport than wine in bottles.
Waste Management : Common practices for mitigating waste reduction include recycling paper, plastic, cardboard and glass; creating compost areas in meeting and lunch rooms; and converting grape pomace and lees (byproducts of winemaking) to compost for use in vineyards and landscaping. Most reminenets from the winemaking process can fortunately be put back in the soil. Natural cork is recycled, and wineries reuse oak barrels by shaving and re-toasting them or donating them to schools or community centers for various uses. Kegs result in little to no waste generation because most are repurposed or recycled, whereas bottle delivery systems result in approximately 1545 lbs. of waste material per 1000 liters of wine delivered, despite recycling efforts. A keg holds the equivalent of 26 bottles of wine, and each keg that goes into distribution will save 2,340 lbs. of trash from the landfill over its lifetime.
Packaging: One promising solution that is starting to gain swing in the wine industry is replacing glass with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic packaging. For the vast majority of wine produced today - that which is made in bulk and for early consumption - recycled PET is a realistic alternative to glass bottles. Compostable and recycled adhesive wine labels allow for the labels to be easily removed for ease bottle reuse.
Fair Compensation to Workers : Sustainability is much broader than climate change; it’s also about protecting the wellness and livelihood of people. Companies should go further than meeting a legal minimum wage and embrace the concept of fair wages.
Worker Health and Well-Being : Fair treatment and worker safety, ensuring proper use of pesticides and adequate protections for working in the vineyard.
Social Responsibility to Communities : In addition to tangible resource management, sustainable wineries also dedicate time to educating their community of consumers, producers, and vendors about their sustainable practices. These wine producers are also committed to social responsibility and giving back to their communities, both local and around the world. Wineries support community needs and social concerns, as well as efforts to prevent underage drinking, drinking responsibly and in moderation.
The Tasting : To round out the journey into defining sustainable wine, I ordered three sustainable wines and held an in-home tasting! I ordered the wine from a wine delivery service based here in LA. The shipment arrived in just two days and all three of the sustainable wines arrived beautifully packaged; I could not wait to taste!
In this case, the attributed tastemakers of the wine profession are from Winc.com, so I have included the professional tasting notes below. My favorite of the three sustainable wines was the 2019 Far + Wide Zweigelt as the silkiness and spice lent itself well to be the most versatile pairing to food. I tasted the sustainable wines side-by-side a non-sustainable wine and the purity of the sustainable wine was distinguishable. In the past, I have purchased more expensive non-sustainable wines than the cost of any of these sustainable bottles. To me, being conscious about my purchase makes a huge difference in knowing that this time, my money is going to help maintain healthy vineyards and further advances to protect our planet - Salute!
Ye-Ye : light-bodied, dry with tasting notes of honeysuckle, lemon, peach, wet stone
2019 Far + Wide Zweigelt : medium-bodied, dry, with tasting notes of black pepper, blackberry, blueberry, dark plume
Keep It Chill : medium-bodied, dry, with tasting notes of allspice, pomegranate, raspberry, red cherry
Keep it Chill is meant to be served cold, like it's French cousin, Summer Rosé.
À votre santé!
Research Resources : https://discoversustainablewine.com and Winc.com