Like every other product you can think of, wine has environmental impacts that directly link to the way companies manufacture it. But what does sustainable wine really mean? What impact does wine production have on the environment? How is sustainability possible? In this article, we’ll explore how companies produce sustainable wine, the different ways in which production affects the environment, and how some producers are working to develop environmentally conscious and sustainable wine vineyards.
How Sustainable Is Organic Wine Production
Sustainable Wine Vineyards can make wines labeled organic without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. However, a number of studies show that organic wines often contain elevated levels of potentially harmful chemicals such as aluminum and manganese.
To be organic, a farm or vineyard has to keep its land free of pesticides and herbicides, which means limiting synthetic fertilizers as well. But wine can receive organic certification even when irrigated with water from nearby farms that use synthetic fertilizers.
When is Wine Sustainability Important?
Wine is a complex drink, with flavor profiles dependent on the years of the growing season, plantation, region, soil types, and so on. And it’s just as challenging to describe how sustainability factors in.
According to Katherine Cole, owner of Amore Mio Vineyards, it’s important that we consider sustainability because our environment is also a big part of what makes wine special. Wine thrives in an agricultural setting, says Cole.
Some organic wine methods include:
- Low intervention
- Dry farmed
- Vinted — no added sulfur
The organic wine grower believes natural pest control methods are superior to any form of chemical usage. Not only does it make more sense from an environmental standpoint, but it makes economic sense as well. There are a number of tried and true natural pest control techniques, many of which you can easily integrate into your wine vineyard.
Natural Pest Control
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a way of thinking about pests that focuses on preventing pest problems rather than trying to eliminate them. Although it can be more expensive in terms of time and money, IPM has proven to be much more environmentally friendly than conventional pesticide approaches. It relies on using as few chemicals as possible, but when they are needed, IPM strategies rely on non-toxic products or mechanical systems such as traps, barriers, or sanitation.
Many wineries now offer other types of sustainable wines, including sparkling and red wine. They create these wine varieties by using sustainable agricultural practices, meaning they’re better for your health and Mother Earth. Don’t like or can’t consume any type of alcohol? There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic and organic beverages available. For example, you can try a glass of Kombucha Tea from one of several companies offering a wide range of products.
Other Types of Sustainable Wines
There are many other types of sustainable wines that use organic and environmentally friendly practices. The most popular are Biodynamic Wines.
What Is Biodynamic Wine? Organic wine companies use all-natural farming methods without any synthetic pesticides or chemicals. These wines usually come from small wine producers committed to providing their customers with truly natural products. The quality of biodynamic and organic wines varies widely, but they tend to be much more expensive than other types of wine because of their limited production.
A growing number of wine grape varieties are being grown in sustainable and certified organic farms. These include:
- Pinot Noi
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Muscat Ottonel
- Grüner Veltliner
Organic wines and biodynamic wines are two other types of sustainable wines. Biodynamic wines, which you can label as such, are produced according to specific guidelines that call for minimal intervention in both viticulture and vinification. Organic wine must be at least 99 percent organic, with minimal intervention in both winemaking and grape cultivation.
So if you’re concerned about sustainable wine production, and want to be sure your wine has a minimal impact on both our planet and its inhabitants, then it’s time for you to start focusing on labeling. If you can’t find certified sustainable wines at your local grocery store or in restaurants, ask that they source sustainable wines from distributors who offer them.