Environment Friendly Wine Makers

Kirsten Long

When you look at a label on a bottle of wine and it reads “organic”, it usually means sustainable but it’s worth noting that truly green wineries take a lot into account when producing their products. Everything from growing practices, wine packaging, transportation and logistics go into maintaining an environment friendly wine.

Today there is a growing list of green wineries in North America but we introduce you to just a few to get a sense of what being environment friendly means to wine makers.

French Rabbit wine is presented in an innovative package. The Boisset family has been making wine for two generations, combining an Old World quality wine with a new world, state-of-the-art thinking. They only source their grapes through sustainable farming, specifically located in southern France and they package the product in environmentally friendly wine containers.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located in British Columbia and owned by the Cipes family, has been producing organic wine since 1986. This has been an integral part of their business, as they believe it allows the grapes to express the quality of their surroundings in what is known as the Okanagan Valley Terroir.

The last winery we are introducing you to is the Featherstone Estate Winery in Vineland, Ontario. This winery implements a number of eco-friendly farming practices, focusing on a give-and-take relationship with living soil organisms. At this vineyard they plant cover crops in between every row of grapes, eliminating the chance of soil being exposed to elements like wind and water. This also prevents invasive weed seeds from growing. Featherstone has also been insecticide free since 1999. To stop bugs from eating the vines they use an organic molecule that has rough edges, called diatomaceous earth (DE), which irritates the insect’s external skeleton. They also bring in predatory insects and use pheromones to keep the critters away.

Interestingly, Featherstone Estate winery switched from using a traditional sprayer to a recycle sprayer in 2008. It captures any spray that does not cling to the vines and re-uses it. This style of sprayer has no spray drift, meaning none of the spray is projected into the environment, reducing the amount of spray needed for the vineyard.

From environmentally friendly packaging, to organic farming practices and recycle sprayers, these three wineries are making changes to their business practices that are benefiting the environment, increasing the quality of wine, and saving their business money. These small adjustments are a great example of how different industries are taking steps in a positive environmental direction.