What if I told you that you may be paying more for that bottle of BC wine than the price tag? The amount and nature of the environmental impact of producing that wine must also be factored. We are fortunate that many wineries in BC practice sustainable agriculture. By purchasing BC wines that are sustainable you are supporting that wine and how it is made.
What is a sustainable wine? Many wine consumers have different ideas that come to mind. In reality a sustainable wine or winery is one that considers all aspects of the environment that it impacts and develops best practices in all areas.
Let’s look at a couple of examples here in BC. Water during the summer months in the South Okanagan is a precious commodity so reducing the amount water used in irrigation is of utmost importance. Water efficient irrigation systems, flow meters and water capture and recycling can reduce the amount of water used in a vineyard significantly.
Healthy vineyards are not only good for the environment but also produce superior fruit and therefore increase wine quality. Pests (rodents, bears, deer and elk and some insects), weeds and wildlife have to be controlled, however using chemical sprays and poisons and traps only add to environmental destruction. A sustainable winery uses alternate methods to manage these threats to the vines.
Sustainability does not end with vineyards but also extends to the winery itself. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified wineries building are insulated to prevent heat loss, use recycled building materials, install daylighting and operable windows to facilitate air flow, and other environmentally friendly features.
A friend of mine told me that he had once visited a vineyard in California where the rows of vines were immaculate and there were no trace of weeds, insects or sounds. He didn’t know how troubling it was until later that day he visited an organic vineyard that was alive with bees, other insects and wildlife all interacting with the natural ecosystem surrounding the vineyard. One vineyard was the living dead, the other full of life.
By purchasing sustainable wines you are supporting the future prosperity of the planet and ensuring great wines will be available for thousands of years. Support the following wineries in BC that practice sustainable winemaking: St. Hubertus, Baille-Grohman, Tinhorn Creek, Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerhill Pyramid and Tantalus. The future is our choice, make it a wise one.