Sustainable wine comes in many forms, from vineyard practices to winemaking techniques.
Sustainability in winemaking has become a hot topic, and many wineries have moved in this direction. Whether it be in the vineyard, cellar, or tasting room, wineries around the world have had the opportunity to take on an eco-friendly approach.
Strictly speaking, sustainable wine refers to the practice of making wine in a way that protects the natural environment while making an effort to support local initiatives. These may not look the same in every country and can be done in several different ways.
Currently, California is at the forefront of sustainable measures in the USA, offering several certifications and awards for producers who intend to go green. But around the world, wineries have found innovative ways to reduce their impact on the environment.
Phifer Pavitt Winery
The Phifer Pavitt Winery is located in Napa Valley, California, focusing on making sustainable wine while remaining modern and relevant. It’s run by married couple Suzanne Phifer Pavitt and Shane Pavitt; everything in the winery is centered around sustainable innovations.
The tasting room is built from reclaimed materials, while the vineyards are farmed organically. Some of their farming techniques include setting up owl boxes, which encourages owls to keep the rodents at bay. They also planted indigenous legume crops, which minimizes insect issues while promoting fertility in the soil.
The Phifer Pavitt Winery is located in Napa Valley, California, focusing on making sustainable wine while remaining modern and relevant.
In addition to offering splendid wine tours, guests also have the opportunity to go on an eco-tour of the farm.
Hagafen Cellars is another Napa Valley winery that has led the way with sustainable practices. The winery was founded in the 70s and is currently owned and operated by Irit and Ernie Weir.
One of the most notable achievements is that they hold three different Napa Green Certifications, which are highly admired in terms of sustainability. These certifications cover everything from water usage, energy usage, waste, soil, bottling, and farming. This winery has focused tremendously on reducing its carbon footprint by using solar energy, recycled products, and farming with sustainable (and biodynamic) methods.
The certifications the winery holds include Bee-Friendly and Fish-Friendly farming. In essence, the farm provides good nutrition for bees, good water sources, and eliminates chemicals on the farm while also providing habitats. In addition, the Fish-Friendly certificate focuses on restoring fish and wildlife habitats.
In the heart of Italy, specifically in Montepulciano Stazione, lies the Poliziano winery. This third-generation run winery is an excellent example of how sustainability has no limits. The winery was set up in 1961, where there was an immediate focus on quality and innovation. Despite having more than a dozen wines, all these wines are predominantly Sangiovese, which have proven to do exceptionally well in the area. The winery prides itself on its organic practices, which have shown to enhance the quality of the wines.
On the other side of the globe, in South Africa, Bartinney is another winery that has taken a great initiative to move in a more sustainable direction. Located in the renowned Stellenbosch region, the producers believe in finding the balance between suitable farming methods while caring for the environment.
One of their biggest projects was the development of an indigenous nursery, which protects the country’s natural plants, fynbos. In addition to this, they pride themselves on being carbon-neutral and use solar energy throughout the farm.
One of the most interesting features, by far, is the endemic plants that help the winemakers purify the water for winemaking.
Cederberg Private Cellar
Cederberg is another excellent South African winery dedicated to sustainability. The family-run business is currently under its fifth generation, producing wine since the 1970s. Their dedication to sustainability is easier than in other regions since the area is isolated and free of disease. This also allows them to make their wine free of chemical intervention.
They offer a vast selection of red and white wines that highlight the distinct terroir of the Cederberg. This area is one of the most scenic and rocky, while the vineyards are planted over 1000m above sea level. So, in addition to making eco-friendly wines with minimal intervention, the quality of the wines is extraordinary.
Sustainability comes in many forms, from vineyard practices to cellar techniques and architecture. The textbook definition of what sustainability means is somewhat irrelevant. What is most important is the level of commitment these wineries have to create better wines while protecting the environment.
What’s more important than any type of certification is the efforts the wineries undergo to reduce their carbon footprint. If more wineries took small steps to reduce their carbon footprint, it would be more impactful than a handful of wineries that make monumental sustainable achievements.
Sustainability in wineries comes in different forms, whether it be in the vineyard or cellar.
Wineries worldwide have taken a great initiative to move in a sustainable direction and reduce their carbon footprint.
The certifications that wineries carry should not be the focal point but rather the efforts wineries take to move in an eco-friendly direction.