By Lucie Trépanier
Before providing a summary of featured wineries, here is an overview of the 3 major buzzwords relating to eco-friendly farming, which were well explained by Vintages at the tasting.
Sustainable relates to viticulture and winemaking. It is a way of life in the vineyard and in the winery, where a long-term vision aims to integrate people, soil, plants and fauna. Sustainable agriculture adheres to 3 fundamental principles:
• environmental health
• economic profitability
• social and economic equity
Major green solutions linked to sustainability include water conservation, waste reduction and liveable wages and benefits for workers. Sustainable producers today tend to adhere to such principles on a voluntary basis, monitored by self-regulating bodies rather than official government-run certifying bodies.
A return to natural farming methods. Organic practices take sustainable farming one step further as they encompass jurisdiction, which varies per country. Main rules of organic viticulture include the ban of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides in the vineyard. Certification is granted only after a winery adheres to organic methods for three years.
The most radical agricultural system in terms of eco-friendliness. Developed in the early 1900’s by Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic agriculture was the first modern ecological farming system. In relation to winegrowing, it is a holistic approach, where a vineyard is treated as a single, harmonious organism. As with organic viticulture, it forbids the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides but includes further steps towards natural farming. Methods may include unique practices such as using compost and field sprays crafted from fermented herbal and mineral preparations, the use of astronomical sowing and a planting calendar which follows the lunar cycle.
Certification is required for wineries wishing to become biodynamic. Although biodynamic viticulture is not new to the wine world, Southbrook Vineyards is the very first Canadian winery to be certified biodynamic since 2008.
Wineries featured at Green Evolution included:
This year, on Earth Day, Southbrook Vineyards released two new certified biodynamic wines. The 2008 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 “Fresh” White joined their Cabernet Rosé, already biodynamic since 2008. These wines are all certified by Pro-Cert Organics and Demeter.
This winery was a pioneer in eco-friendly winegrowing and winemaking and has been cultivating its grapes according to organic and biodynamic principles since 2005. Official certification is anticipated for 2010.
Domaine Weinbach products available at Lifford Wine Agency
Pommery’s NV Champagne Pop Earth was released this Earth Day. This predominantly Pinot Noir-based bubbly is made according to sustainable practises and bottled in a lightweight glass bottle (1.85 lbs versus the standard 2 lbs Champagne bottle) which will considerably reduce pollution and energy costs during shipping. The new Pop Earth also features recycled labels printed with water soluble inks.
Valle de Aconcagua, Chile
Another direct project of Chile’s Eduardo Chadwick (owner and president of Viña Errázuriz, and founder of Viñedo Chadwick, Seña and Caliterra brands), Viña Arboleda is a boutique winery featuring sustainable handcrafted wines from the Aconcagua Valley.
A thorough detailed conversation with winemaker Soledad Meneses shed light on the term sustainability and provided concrete examples of everyday actions it entails. Key points adopted by sustainable viticulture include:
• Precision farming: Farm management at a level that allows inputs to be tailored to variable conditions across short distances in a single field.
• Integrated pest management: An integrated, ecological approach of crop management to solve ecological problems when applied in agriculture. It’s main goal is to significantly reduce or eliminate use of pesticides in the vineyard through prevention, observation and intervention.
• Water waste reduction: the rational use of water resources by developing and improving irrigation strategies to maximize the efficient use of water and reduce unnecessary energy use.
• Ongoing staff education and improved conditions for vineyard workers
Benziger Family Winery
Lake and Sonoma Counties, California
Sonoma’s Benziger family has been leaving its trace—or working at reducing it—for thirty years. All its wines are certified organic, sustainable or biodynamic and all of their estate vineyards are certified biodynamic by Demeter. With the increasing effects of water shortage being felt in California, viticulturists will need to innovate and find solutions to survive. At Benziger, initiatives to reduce land, air and water waste are not simply seen as the most concrete action in favour of Mother Earth, but has also become a company trademark as it is the best way to make distinctive, quality wines for today’s competitive market.
Social media comments
Powered by Facebook Comments