Over the last decade, Americans have been eagerly embracing an idea of sustainable agriculture, natural food and healthier life style. Yes, the natural food movement has changed the way people eat today. We consider where our food came from, who grew or produced it and how far it traveled to get to our plates. But I wonder, do we ask ourselves the same questions when buying a bottle of Pino in a local liquor store or having a glass of wine with our meal?
In the end, wine is an agricultural product, and has an impact on the lives of people who produce and consume it, and on the environment – through pesticides, herbicides, excessive water and energy consumption which are all commonplace in conventional wine production.
A lot of wine in the United States is made with the techniques optimized for bringing wine to the marketplace as quickly as possible. Producers who make wine in industrial quantities are more likely to use additives with long, unpronounceable names for consistency purposes. Grapes are sprayed with pesticides that damage the soil, environment and health of the workers who work at the vineyard. As a result the consumer ends up with wine, which is pumped, fined, filtered, has less complex taste and a greater negative impact on the environment.
The good news is that the whole industry is steadily changing. Resource depletion and the consumer demand for sustainable products and services forces local winemakers to move towards more sustainable farming practices and wine production techniques. More and more wineries across the United States are becoming environment-friendly, whether by organically growing their grapes, using biodynamic methods or following sustainable farming practices. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of limitations as for winemakers due to high costs of production and certification as well as for consumers due to low availability of this “type of wine” on the market and high retail prices.
Nevertheless, as consumers we have to be more conscious, we have to educate ourselves and pay more attention to what we eat and drink in order to make better choices.
In the following blog posts I’ll explain the difference between organic, biodynamic and sustainable wine production; I will interview California winemakers to get a snapshot of what sustainable viticulture means on practice.
Cheers and stay tuned!