As the trend toward sustainability grows stronger, especially in the wine industry, more and more wineries in the USA are leaning toward sustainable, organic, and biodynamic practices.
Considering how many layers there are in winemaking and how many resources are used, it is an industry that should consider moving into a sustainable direction. From the vineyard to the cellar, the tasting room, and the transportation, wineries have the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact tremendously.
Fortunately, as consumer demand for sustainable products increases, wineries are feeling the pressure to deliver. The USA is no stranger to this pressure, highlighting a number of industry leaders in the sustainable movement.
Tablas Creek Vineyard (Paso Robles, California)
Tablas Creek Vineyard has made sustainability a way of life and has been farming this way since the late 80s. In the beginning, this winery was the only one in Paso Robles to farm organically and sustainably, which pathed the way for fellow vineyards. Today, most vineyards in the area have a sustainability certification and have seen the value of farming better.
One of the improved farming methods Tablas Creek has taken on is biodynamic farming. This farming practice is based on the idea that nature should be incorporated throughout the farming process. This vineyard has taken on especially unique practices, like using donkeys, sheep, and alpacas to control weeds, create fertilizer and capture carbon.
Using these practices, the vineyard is able to produce dozens of exciting wines for all different grape varieties, highlighting how there are really no limits to producing sustainable wine.
Ehlers Estate (St. Helena, California)
Ehlers Estate’s winemaker, Laura Diaz Munoz, is a huge advocate for organic wine but knows how challenging it can be to control pests without sprays. While many wineries try to follow an organic and sustainable route, the challenges are not to be ignored.
However, Laura has found a way to manage pests and disease in the vineyard using spore traps to monitor fungus and fests. As a result, this winery has become a leader in the sustainable wine industry.
More than just incorporating organic practices in their vineyards, the estate has also taken the initiative to educate consumers about organic wine while tasting their range. And most importantly, the estate is the best example of how one can make premium wines using organic grapes and do it well. Their range consists of several prestigious red wines that speak volumes.
Macari Vineyards (Mattituck, New York)
Macari Vineyard was established almost thirty years ago, and in all those years, not once were chemicals used in the vineyards. Organic was their focus from day one, and it has paid off. In addition to these organic practices, the winery has also taken more steps to make their wines more sustainable. Some of these steps include producing their own compost and using dry farming (which means they don’t irrigate their vines). From these vineyards, the winery produces red, white, and rosé wines.
Best of all, the winery is constantly seeking ways to further improve their sustainability journey, venturing into topics like solar, tank insulation, and using reusable glass. It is an admirable journey that this winery has taken that many wineries in the area have looked to.
Cooper Mountains Vineyards (Portland, Oregon)
The Cooper Mountain Vineyards are located on the actual slopes of the Cooper Mountains and are all certified organic and biodynamic. In fact, these vines have been farmed this way since the late nineties, before these practices became trendy in the wine industry. It was all initiated by the founder, Dr. Gross, who was a homeopathic doctor before venturing into the wine industry. Today, the winery thrives in its regenerative, organic, and biodynamic practices and even incorporates homeopathic ideas in their establishment.
While the brand originally started out with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, more grape varieties have been added to their range of wines, including Gamay Noir and a unique grape called Tocai Friulano. No matter the grape or style of wine, though, all are farmed with respect to and in synergy with nature.
There are a number of admirable, sustainable wineries in The United States, from California to Oregon and Maine.
Most sustainable farms have taken on organic and biodynamic farming as their focal point, but there are wineries who have expanded their efforts to other areas.
The fact that so many different grapes are farmed sustainability is proof that it can be done by any winery using almost all grape varieties.