Katherine Peloso, a 5th Year Hospitality and Tourism Co-op Student at the University of Guelph, talks about her introduction to sustainable wine making.
“Is that a ‘Green’ Grape?
Yes it is, and it’s no secret! “Green” initiatives such as organic and biodynamic farming, waste management, and pollution reduction, are recently becoming more and more popular in the wine-making industry. Just like any farm that produces food, vineyards rely on the earth and it’s nutrients to grow the best possible crop. When potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers get in the way, the vines no longer have the ability to produce the best possible grapes representative of that terroir. According to those that practise organic and biodynamic farming, the soil becomes less nutritious over time, depleting the living source for the next generation. Food farmers have the ability to rotate their crops (grow different foods in different areas to preserve certain nutrients in the soil), however vines are not replanted each year; they grow in the same soil and rock bed over their entire life. The introductions of Organic and Biodynamic farming practises have made certain aspects of the food industry more environmentally sustainable. They have improved soil conditions, reduced carbon emissions, and increased water and energy conservation, while also changing how consumers think about and purchase food. The wine industry has recently begun to promote a more environmentally sustainable business, and as the initiatives continue to develop, the industry hopes that these adjustments will become more widely accepted by consumers. Monty Waldin is a European wine journalist and consultant who supports biodynamic winemaking around the world. He explains that biodynamic growing practices have been around since the very beginning of wine making: “It’s easier done than most people think” he says, and it’s truly the only way the industry can be sustained for generations to come. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=forejgHXqD4
As sustainable wine making becomes more prevalent in the industry, wineries are beginning to convert their operations into more sustainable establishments by introducing new environmentally friendly practices.
WHO IS SUPPRTING SUSTAINABLE VITICULTRE?
Check out these Wineries and support the sustainability movement by trying some of their wines!
- Stratus Winery in Niagara, Ontario is the first LEED certified winery in all of North America http://www.stratuswines.com/index/page/name/sustainability
- Tawse Winery, Niagara, Ontario http://www.tawsewinery.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=52
- Parducci wines by Mendocino Wine Co. in California is 100% carbon neutral http://www.mendocinowineco.com
- Frog’s Leap Winery, Napa Valley, California http://www.frogsleap.com/flash/intro.html
- Sokol Blosser, Oregon http://sokolblosser.com/about/sustainability.html
HOW ARE THEY DOING IT?
Through initiatives such as:
- The Ontario Wine industry- “Sustainable Winemaking Ontario: An Environmental Charter for the Wine Industry” was launched in 2007 and is the industries proactive plan to promote sustainable winemaking practices. The document is a reference tool with links to provincial, regional, and municipal governments and organizations regarding permits, legal requirements and other environmental guidelines for wine-producing operations. http://wine.uab.cat/Ponencies%20i%20comunicacions/25%20P%20Giesbrecht.pdf
- “LIVE”- Low Input Viticulture and Enology Inc. http://liveinc.org/about “A non-profit organization providing education and independent 3rd-party certification for vineyards and wineries using international standards of sustainable viticulture and enology practices in wine-grape and wine production.”
- “LEED”- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1988 Created by the U.S. Green building Code, the program consists of a number of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of “green” buildings, homes, and neighbourhoods.