The three Green buzz words used in wine today are: sustainable, organic and biodynamic. But what does it all mean?
Each term has a different meaning when it comes to grape growing, winemaking and certification, but all three ways of farming have the same thing in mind - taking care of the earth that gives us these grapes, and nurturing it with natural materials.
Sustainable can be defined by three main goals - environmental stewardship, economic profitability and social and economic equity. That means that sustainable farmers are doing their best to give back to the environment and to the community, while also furthering their business.
Wine: Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir ($21.99)
Cork recycling program: www.willamettevalleyvineyards.com
Organic farming is one step up from Sustainable. Farmers use no synthetic materials and rely on natural fertilizers and pest control systems. The key here is excluding the use of any synthetic materials in the vineyard - no fungicides, no pesticides.
Instead, crop rotation, cover crops, compost and biological pest control are used for the vines. In the winery, it means using minimal filtration and fining materials and natural yeasts. Most wines termed "organic" are made from organically grown grapes.
Wine: Yalumba Organic Viognier (made with Organically grown grapes) ($14.99)
Biodynamic practices use herbs, minerals and even manure for sprays and composts. They plan vine care and harvesting schedules according to the astronomical calendar.
Demeter International, the only certifying body for Biodynamic wines, accurately sums it up: "Biodynamic® agriculture is an ecological farming system that views the farm as a self-contained and self-sustaining organism. Emphasis is placed on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, soil maintenance, and the health and well-being of the animals, the farmer, the farm, and the earth: all are integral parts that make up the whole."
Wine: Bonny Doon Ca' del Solo Albarino ($19.99)
When you're trying to go green with your wines, consider packaging as well. Here are two examples of easy-on-the-earth packaging innovations, all available at www.wine.com.
Wine.com Eco Trio ($29.99) utilizes the world's first PET Wine Bottles, totally green packaging printed with green inks and a carbon balanced shipping program. The wines of course are earth friendly.
Octavin wine packaging means consumers are buying in bulk, and the no-glass packaging is lighter to ship so has a lighter carbon footrpint.
Wine.com sells thousands of labels and wine varietals from all over the world.
For more information, visit www.wine.com
About Gwendolyn Osborn:
Gwendolyn holds an advanced certificate from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust and will soon achieve the Diploma certification from the same organization. Previously, she was the education coordinator for the Wine Spectator School, an online wine education program that teaches and promotes wine appreciation.
She also worked extensively in the New York and San Francisco area with Uncorked Events, teaching seminars in wine and helping to organize larger tastings. More recently, she opened and managed Wine.com's Retail Outlet in Berkeley, CA.
Her educational pursuits in wine have led her to travel extensively in wine regions, including France, Italy, Oregon, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and of course, California, meeting with top winemakers around the globe.