What is Sustainable Viticulture? Is Wine Environmentally Friendly?
Have you ever stopped to consider the environmental cost of wine production? If not, there are some important things to know..
For some it’s not much more than a complimentary beverage to dinner. For others, it’s an entire way of life (not the drunk part.. or maybe?). For centuries, wine has played a pivotal role as the fermented elixir of choice for many great banquets, feasts, social events, intimate settings, and more. Today, there are over 11,000 wineries in North America according to some sources, which produce over 800 million gallons of wine per year. That’s a lot of juice! But like all great production feats, the question is begged; how sustainable is viticulture, and how can you find the wineries that care the most about social and environmental causes? Enter Sip Wines. In this Mod, we’ll take a closer look into this world. Pour yourself a glass.
What is Sustainable Viticulture?
Viticulture is the study of grape cultivation, a branch of horticulture (yes I know, sounds like something from Harry Potter). Sustainability on the other hand, is summarized as the ability to exist constantly, meaning to continue producing in a way that is not depleting certain key resources. For wineries, this means things like:
- Maintaining biodiversity in the soil.
- Using quality recycling methods.
- Leaning on renewable energy sources like solar.
Today, there are companies dedicated to helping wineries who have sustainable practices, such as Sip Wines, which is a US based online wine marketplace that places social and environmental values at the forefront of the purchasing path. Consumers can shop by values such as: women-led, sustainability, first-generation, B corp, etc. Sip Wines CEO and Co-founder Justine DiPrete also advocates for the company's strength in being woman-led and building the platform with intelligent recommendations that help facilitate an easier and more personalized shopping experience. That’s sustainability in more ways than one!
What’s the difference between Organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines?
You might come across some variety in environmentally friendly wines, so it’s a good idea to understand a bit about how they differ. Some of the variables that play into these types are things like company / founder mission, location, and production preferences.
Organic, USDA approved wines are best known for the fact that they do not utilize synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals in their production process. They are also free of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and sulfites, preservatives with antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
Sustainable wines have an utmost mission to protect the environment, as well as social responsibility and economic feasibility. When you open a sustainable wine bottle, you can rest assured that all matters of sustainability are kept in mind, from the initial growth of the vines to the manufacturing and bottling process.
Biodynamics are similar to organic in how they do not use any modifiers or chemicals in their production process, however in addition to that, there are strict regulations and certifications that must be acquired from Demeter and Biodyvin. These entities validate the quality of your product and even take into account planting schedules based on lunar cycles.
Where are the best vineyards in the US?
There are a plethora of vineyards to choose from in the US. Being the social beverage that it is, you might take it upon yourself to explore the stories of wineries and winemakers, to learn about the history and current practices of these wine producers (it’ll make for a much livelier discussion around the dinner table). This creates more of a connection to the wine and wineries, and being in the know is SWEET. Companies like Sip Wines not only tell the stories of their wineries, but they also have robust filtering mechanisms on their site, where you can search for wineries based on their mission, sustainability factors, etc, and shop from them right then and there. It’s definitely the best way to step into the world of wine, or to add some new favorites to your existing cellar!
Statistically speaking, the best states in the US for vineyards, based on many factors including climate, economics, etc are:
- New York.
Wine is a very interesting industry to get involved in, and there are a lot of opportunities for creating sustainable production processes. Whether you’re new to viticulture or a seasoned vet, remember that sustainability is more than just a buzzword, it’s a means for ongoing opportunity to enjoy some of the simple things in life and there are platforms like Sip Wines who make that process much easier. If you enjoyed this Mod, you might like to read more about these easy dinner prep suggestions for quarantine! Please consider sharing this Mod using the social links below.