Wine & spirits: Eco-friendly wine
Photography by Ryan Brook/TC Media
Sustainability is the long-term preservation of natural resources. Sustainable practices can be applied in the vineyard and winemaking process. A few examples include using manual power instead of machines, composting, employing gravity-flow winemaking techniques rather than pumps, reducing harmful emissions and using lightweight bottles and recycled paper for labels. Many wineries are also going green by updating to LEED-certified buildings, using thermal heating and cooling in the winery and solar-powered energy.
Although organic farming and winemaking are quite regulated, being eligible for organic status varies from country to country. However, even if a wine doesn’t say “organic” on the label, it doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a green choice. Many wineries employ sustainable methods when making wine, which can be argued to be even more holistic and green than organic farming alone.
Biodynamic wineries strive to bring balance to nature and give back to the land. The wine is produced through farming methods that embrace the larger, interconnected living system. Biodynamic practices integrate astronomy with the farming calendar, as well as the use of compost and manures in the vineyard. This information may not be on the label but is part of the wine, winery and winemaking philosophy.
Often applied to coffee, tea and cocoa, fair trade certification has now moved into the world of wine. Look for the fair trade logo on bottles, which guarantees a minimum wage to the farmhands, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing areas.
Lead image courtesy of West Elm.