Page 59 - Aug2017

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AUGUST 2017 |
s the days warm up even more, consider beating the heat
with some sustainably made wines. The production of
sustainable wines seeks balance—not only in the glass
but throughout the entire winemaking process.
While sustainable practices are based on farming that is good
for the environment, growers also consider which ones make
the best economic sense. A sustainably made wine is not always
an organic wine because environmental considerations are not
the sole goal; a sustainable winemaker is striving to balance
social and economic concerns through broader considerations.
For example, a grape grower may tend his vineyard organically
throughout the year to avoid pesticide contact to himself
and others, to avoid dietary concerns for consumers, and to
avoid pollution risk to nearby rivers and wildlife. However, if a
vineyard pest were to arrive that threatened the entire vintage
and his livelihood, the same grape grower may opt to spray in
small scale to keep a larger problem from developing.
While he would no longer be organically farming, he would
still be sustainably farming. He would be protecting his crop and
therefore his income. This would enable him to pay his workers
and stay in business while still limiting exposure to everyone
involved and still protecting the bulk of the surrounding area.
This is one reason why many growers who do believe in
organic farming do not seek a certified organic designation;
they want to be able to fix an emergency situation quickly if
they deem it necessary, although it is neither their intention
nor plan to do so initially.
From this perspective, sustainability has become an
increasingly important buzzword in the world of wine. In
many wine regions, drought is an ever-looming concern, so
protecting the available water from pollution and waste is
critical to staying in business. Some wine regions have grower
and winemaker groups with agreed upon directives to ensure
fair and safe use of the local resources for all.
Other ways to be sustainable simply make good business
sense. Switching from heavy glass to lightweight bottles
has not only made less of an environmental footprint for
wineries but it has also saved wineries money on shipping
costs. Choosing to use labels made from recycled paper and
buying recycled corks can be both financial prudent and
environmentally friendly.
Thus when a winemaker boasts about a wine’s sustainability,
they are no longer dismissed as “tree huggers” or alternately,
not being organic enough. Instead it is a marker that their wine
was made in such a way as to best support the farmers and the
vintners, while protecting the land and still accomplishing their
ultimate goal of creating an enjoyable product.
Drink sustainably this summer with the wine
recommendations below that each have a bit of rock-n-roll
stardust in them as well. Cheers!
Sustainability Rocks
Environmentally Friendly Wines with a Touch of Rock n’ Roll
By Sandra Crittenden