Earth Day…What’s in Your Glass?

  • Posted on
  • 0
Earth Day…What’s in Your Glass?

Earth Day was celebrated this year in many ways and by many different entities, including wineries and vineyards. After all wine is about terroir, which is all about environment, climate, and dirt and all of that is affected by how we treat this Earth. As wine lovers, we should expect that those cultivating the grapes used for our wines are caring for their mother Earth.

There are some wineries that are taking the Earth and how we treat her sincerely. Domaine Carneros, a well-known sparkling wine producer, takes sustainability and living “light” on the land seriously. Since its founding in 1987, they are pushing that sustainability envelope in pursuit of the highest standards. They are constantly seeking out new areas to improve upon their high principles of sustainability, not only for the winery, but for its place in the community and as an employer. This month, they released their 2023 Avant Garde Pinot Noir Rosé —their first microgrid-powered wine. They are one of the first wineries in the area to install this new technology.  It is an expansion of their solar energy program. The new microgrid connects to a state-of-the-art battery system that can store energy to offset peak energy times and be used in off-peak times. Domaine Carneros is implementing practices such as owl boxes to encourage natural pest management, to taking grape pomace from every harvest and feeding it to local cattle. In 2013, they became certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and in 2015 they were Fish Friendly Farming certified. This certification is gained through dedicated efforts by the farmer to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality. This winery gets it! Happy, healthy vines are a result of being kind to what feeds them.

Local Virginia winery DuCard has been green from day one, using wood for their floors and a re-purposed tasting bar recycled from a 100-year-old barn on the property. It has been named Greenest Winery in Virginia twice. The winery checks all of the boxes of environmentally friendly. They’re solar-powered; their cutlery is made from vegetable starch; they compost grape waste to use in their fields and gardens; and they plant wildflowers to feed beneficial insects. They also use lightweight wine bottles, disregarding the tradition of putting even their premium wines, in heavy (and wasteful) bottles. DuCard uses an artificial wetland system to process water, and partners with Re-Cork C’ville in a cork recycling program. Customers no longer will find plastic water bottles in the tasting room; they’ve switched to refillable glass.  If visiting the winery in your Earth-friendly electric car, you can get all charged up while you relax over some award-winning Petit Verdot.

Camila Carrillo, of La Montañuela, in Bethel, Vermont, feels that practices in her vineyard are the priority, using biodynamic, organic and regenerative methods to care for her vines. She believes that winemaking begins in the vineyard. Caring for the soil and the planet is a top priority. Because of this, she believes that biodynamic, organic, and regenerative agriculture are the best methods for healthy soils and healthy fruit. Her methods do not include chemical herbicides or pesticides in the vineyards, she opts, instead, for plant-based trunk pastes and sprays. “The trunk paste is horn manure, stinging nettle, horsetail and clay, which creates this white paste that attracts sunlight, which is healing for the vines and promotes new growth,” says Carrillo. “Sustainability, to me, involves a mission to farm responsibly, to heal and to create abundance.” She is innovative in the cellar as well, producing oxidative wines with grapes like Frontenac Gris and Petillant Naturel wines. Another winery embracing the value of the relationship between healthy vibrant vines and the earth that feeds them.

Wine is a product of what, how and when it is produced. It all starts in the vineyards, with happy grapes. If you have ever tried to grow anything, you know that it requires a good foundation, appropriate moisture, the right amount of sunlight, and nourishing surroundings. Nothing is truer for wine grapes! The grapes that go into wine are soaking up all that is sprayed and watered, along with what is in the dirt it is grown in. What ends up in the glass is a result of how, when and where the fruit is cultivated. So Earth Day/Month should be recognized as a time to seek out those who are going the extra mile to take care of the foundation of the grapes that end up in your wine.


Be the first to comment...

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published