The Weather Outside is Frightful, Especially for Winemakers

2017 has been a bit of a wild ride for everyone, from politicians to pop stars to everyday Joe’s. It’s also been a tumultuous year for winemakers; with devastating frosts crippling vineyards in Europe to wildfires raging through California wine country, 2017 has been a year of Mother Nature’s wrath.

This year exemplifies how we can no longer ignore our effects on the environment. While regulating the weather and climate has never been in our power, how we use the land and natural resources is something we can control. And, overall, more and more consumers are demanding to know what goes into their wine glass and key movers and shakers in the wine industry are pushing for label transparency, supporting the idea that the demand for environmentally sustainable wines will continue to grow.

So, what steps are being put into action by brands and winemakers alike to mitigate the negative environmental effects that can be associated with winemaking? Many winemakers have been pursuing sustainability for a number of years and start literally from the ground-up, while new brands don’t bother with the ground at all.

Winemakers are taking action

Across the globe, wineries and wine regions are implementing plans to reduce their environmental impact.Click To Tweet

Across the globe, wineries and wine regions are implementing plans to reduce their environmental impact. With some plans that have been in the works for several years, different regions across the globe are moving towards winemaking sustainability.

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) for example, in addition to several other environmental initiatives, created its Climate Plan 2020 in 2016, which calls for a 20 percent overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, 20 percent increase in energy conservation, 20 percent increase in the creation of renewable energy, and a 20 percent increase in water conservation. And, this year, many winemaking groups across Bordeaux voted to require environmental certification in their vineyards. In the U.S., industry associations such as the Wine Institute and Napa Green in California support winemakers in pursuit of sustainable winegrowing and many provide certifications to vineyards that affirm their lessened impact on the environment.

Wines might come from a test tube

While winemakers seek to decrease their impact on the land to fight against rapid climate change, some companies remove the land from the equation altogether.

San Francisco-based company Ava Winery is pursuing the creation of synthetic wine. Using high-proof corn alcohol, ethanol, and organic compounds, synthetic wines seek to replace high-quality wines with a more environmentally-friendly option. SodaStream recently launched a white wine concentrate in Europe that allows wine lovers to turn water into sparkling Riesling. While not necessarily environmentally motivated, this latest product is an example of brands taking the unpredictability of weather out of the winemaking process.

So, whether it’s taking action to make wine environmentally friendly or engineering a wine that doesn’t impact the environment at all, it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years.


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