Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sustainable wines found at Cabernet & Company and other local stores for the holidays

There is a carbon footprint and an environmental impact associated with any purchase of wine, but wineries are working hard at “sustainability.” What does this mean? Solar arrays are being installed in many vineyards, especially in California, to reduce energy consumption. Organic and biodynamic methods that include more natural approaches to pest control are being employed by vinyards to reduce the need for energy-intensive fertilizers and pesticides. Wineries are beginning to treat their vineyards as unique ecosystems. Another approach for the consumer is to buy local. Illinois makes a few good wines (yes, really). This reduces the energy required to ship it here, although many Illinois wine makers use some California grapes.

According to Alixe Lischett of Cabernet & Co., sustainable practices are being explored widely within the wine industry. She explained many are not yet classified and marketed as “sustainable” because they may want to use chemicals in a bad year to save the crops from ruin, but this is a very rare occurrence. Good examples of sustainable wines found at Cabernet & Co. include selections from Como Sur, Chile (organic); the Glunz Family Winery (local, and in returnable bottles); Ceago Winery (biodynamic); and Ridge Vineyards (integrated pest management). Also found at Cabernet & Co. is an interesting wine is from Basel Cellars “The Earth Series Volume One,” a red wine blend that is made using biodynamic practices that may soon be certified sustainable.

Fetzer Vineyards (uses solar power and other good practices, but finds it necessary to use plastic corks) can be found at Trader Joe’s.

Wines from Frey Vineyards (organic, biodynamic, and promises to be 100% solar powered in a few years) and Parducci (solar and wind power, and “carbon neutral”) can be found at Whole Foods.

Also look for Frog’s Leap, Napa Valley (solar power, geothermal cooling, organic practices); Rodney Strong, Sonoma County (“world’s largest” solar array used at a winery); and Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley (solar power, shifting to organic wines).

So why does this matter to the wine lover? According to Dr. Dominique Bachelet, The Nature Conservancy's climate change scientist “…by the end of this century rising temperatures across the U.S. could reduce the areas suitable for premium wine production by up to 81 percent.” –

Photo credit: California Public Utilities Commission.

No comments:

Post a Comment