Making wine requires a lot of time, energy, and resources. Now more than ever, sustainable practices in industries like wine can help protect our planet.
But, what does sustainability winemaking even mean?
In a nutshell, winemaking involves growing grapes, picking the fruit, and fermenting the juice into the product we know and love. Throughout this process, water, electricity, and the soil takes a toll.
The winemaking process is seeing growing improvements in order to conserve water and energy in recent years. Especially in states like California, where water is scarce due to drought, methods like drip irrigation have innovated vineyard operations to save water. It's estimated that it takes up to 15 gallons of water to produce a single glass of wine, so every drop counts. Some vineyards have adopted practices of harvesting grapes at night, to reduce the requirement for refrigeration and thus saving electricity. In the vineyard, it is common to see rows of other flowers and plants in between the rows of vines. Grapevines are tough on soil, and pull a tremendous amount of nutrients out while they're growing. Other specific plantlife is added to the vineyard to add those valuable nutrients back into the soil, ensuring that the vines are consistently producing grapes to make great wine. Implementing these practices aren't only beneficial to the environment, but it saves the vineyard and winery money - so everybody wins!
Some of your favorite wineries are already producing sustainable wine. Vintners such as Kendall Jackson, Frog's Leap, and even Franzia are making wine under environmentally sustainable practices! It is worth noting, however, sustainable wine is not organic wine. We'll save the scoop on organic wine for another day.
So raise a glass this Earth Day, to wine that's better for our planet.