In lockstep with sustainable travel’s rise in popularity and prominence, sustainable wine is becoming a growing interest area among those who imbibe. The organic wine market is expected to grow by 10.2 percent each year between 2022 and 2030, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.
You might be wondering, “If it's farmed organically or made sustainably, does the wine taste better?”
“Not necessarily. In my personal experience, more diligent farming leads to higher-quality fruit and higher-quality fruit leads to ‘better wines,’” explains Elyse Lovenworth, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based lead sommelier for the premium online wine shop and wine tasting experience Sommsation. “But that doesn’t mean they necessarily taste better or that you’ll like them more.”
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A wine or winery’s sustainability choices can impact how you experience the wine, though. If you feel better about your purchasing choices, then you’ll probably enjoy what you’re drinking even more—which certainly is something we’ll raise a glass to!
Despite the market growth and growing consumer interest, organic grapes aren’t the only feature to look for if you’re interested in investing in sustainable wine or visiting a sustainable winery, though. Ahead, wine experts spill about all of the elements that can impact a wine’s eco-impact. Then learn about wineries around the world that are sommelier favorites and sustainable all at once.
What Makes a Wine Brand Sustainable?
Since the winemaking process relies on grape farming, wine is a product of agriculture.
“There’s significant environmental implications because of the agricultural essence of the product. Everything including fertilizers, pesticides, soil health, water, and energy usage deeply impact the environment. Within the agriculture industry, there’s a lot of societal implications for the workers as well. If a person wants to drink thoughtfully, sustainably or responsibly, they’ll want to look for whether the wineries consider both the environment and the people who contribute to the production of their wines,” Lovenworth says.
A holistic perspective of sustainability in wine encompasses everything from the ecosystem that surrounds the vineyard and the bedrock beneath the soil, to the finished product and packaging of wine and how it's stored and shipped. Beyond that, it’s also about social impact, or how wineries treat their farmers, producers and local community.
“It’s difficult to find a winery that focuses on sustainable farming, sustainable production and ethics. With so many factors to take into consideration, I think it’s best to find what’s most important to you and support that through your purchasing and consumption behaviors,” Lovenworth says.
Before booking a trip to a winery or buying a bottle from a wine brand, look at these details to investigate its sustainability. While you may not find a winery that checks all the boxes, you can seek out wineries that are leading the way in one or several of the areas that matter the most to you.
- The grapes. When a winery says that they use sustainable practices, it almost always means they make wines from sustainably farmed grapes, Lovenworth says. The same goes for organic wines. “Most people assume if ‘organic’ is mentioned that the wine itself is 100% organic, including farming and production, when usually it’s just referring to the grapes,” she adds.
- The farming and production practices. So what could make an organic grape turn into a not-so-Earth-friendly wine? “The use of chemicals and pesticides in the farming process and carbon-emissions from diesel-fueled tractors. These definitely have an environmental impact,” says Greg Martellotto, a San Diego, California-based founder of Martellotto Winery and the online fine wine marketplace Big Hammer Wines. Winemaking “requires copious amounts of water to prepare and sterilize equipment and to clean up fruity, sugary messes,” Martellotto adds. Sustainable wineries often employ a “capture-recapture” system, or recycle water to reduce their overall environmental impact. In addition, some producers are now using solar-powered machines to help reduce emissions.
- The packaging. In recent years, sustainable winemakers, including Martellotto and his team at Martellotto Winery, have begun packing wines in lighter-weight recycled and recyclable glass bottles and removing the wine capsules made of tin foil, a non-renewable material, from the neck of the bottles. In terms of the topper, a screw cap or pop-top (like a bottle of soda or beer, which is used on some newer sparkling wines) might be your best bet. It takes a lot of energy just to produce cork and they’re not biodegradable. Screw caps, however, are made of metal and can be recycled,” Lovenworth says.
- The winery buildings and tasting rooms. As the industry evolves, there are more and more holistically sustainable wineries popping up. “They take into consideration not only the farming but also the impact of the production facilities. Buildings are designed to minimize environmental impact, water usage and energy usage with gravity flow,” Lovenworth says. This can be expensive, she admits, but the values-driven business decision can pay off to attract consumers—and support Mother Nature.
The overarching goal of all sustainable wine practices are “to produce wines that are responsibly farmed and thoughtfully made,” Lovenworth says.
There are a myriad of certifications at the regional and federal level for eco-friendly wines, including Vinea in WA, LIVE, SIP, Demeter, Salmon Safe, Napa Green, Fish Friendly, Biodynamic and Certified Organic. Unfortunately the certification system hasn’t become organized enough to have widespread certifications for all wineries. Plus, most of the certifications include only the farming practices and not the production of the wine, since production and farming have a whole set of different standards.
So don’t be fooled by the fact that there’s no stamp on the bottle; a winery can still be sustainable. Check out the brand’s website, and reach out to the staff with questions about the environmental factors above, if desired.
10 of the Best Sustainable Wineries Around the World
In 2009, Anaba Wines became the first Northern California winery to utilize wind power. A 45-foot wind turbine provides clean energy for operations on the entire Carneros estate. To support soil health and biodiversity, farmers utilize cover crops, plant daikon radishes to replenish the soil between seasons and steer clear of chemical fertilizers. Anaba Wines leadership also treats their team with TLC, offering livable wages and healthy working conditions.
Founded in 1988, this Amity, Oregon winery focuses on biodynamic farming for the grapes and most of the produce grown for use in the tasting room's culinary program. The Brooks grounds are spotted with native flowering plants to attract native pollinators, too. And they have the awards to back up their sustainability claims: Brooks is the first winery in the world to have a B-Corp Certification, Demeter Biodynamic Certification, and to be a member of 1% for the Planet all at once. Brooks is also a member of Ecologi, and as part of that group, they plant trees with every order, every club anniversary and at other times throughout the year. In the past six months alone, the Brooks crew planted more than 40,000 trees.
If global wines are more your jam, turn your attention to this bestselling Argentinian wine brand. Mendoza-based Bodega Trivento is a B-Corp certified winery, and stands out by way of its water use management program as well as the way it treats its staff and neighbors. They offer flexible working schedules to team members, and employees and their families can secure quality education at the winery’s part-time satellite school or by accessing one of the 50 education grants gifted each year.
Situated on 240 acres of land in Carlton, Oregon, Mineral Springs Ranch is Soter’s biodynamic estate farm that’s home to highland cattle, the vineyard and a kitchen garden (which supplies nearly 100 percent of the restaurant team’s produce needs). For every bottle of their Planet Oregon line sold in Oregon, Soter donates $1 to the Oregon Environmental Council, an organization that legislates and lobbies for cleaner air and climate resilience. Since 2009, they've contributed more than $130,000 to the cause.
Ram’s Gate Winery
Sneak over to Sonoma, California, to sample wines at Ram’s Gate, which has been certified sustainable by the California Association of Winegrape Growers and by Fish Friendly Farming. The grape vines are all organically farmed, and the brand will secure its organic certification before the end of 2023. Through extensive research and new technology, the winemaking team has been able to reduce water usage by 33 percent over the last 5 years. Instead of chemical-laden sprays, Ram’s Gate turns to a team of sheep, owls and hawks to provide natural weed and pest control.
A little further south, in Paso Robles, California, you’ll find the vines that grow the grapes used in the organic vinos sold by Reciprocity. As of April 1, 2023, they’re members of the 1% For The Planet, which focuses on “putting people over profit.” Instead of chemical herbicides and fertilizers, farmers use cover crops, natural pest management and organic fertilizers. The winery is illuminated with energy-efficient lighting, which trims typical energy usage by about 57 percent.
Badia a Coltibuono
In case you need a reason to book a trip to Tuscany, Italy, this might convince you: Badia a Coltibuono’s winery has used zero herbicides or insecticides since 1985. They’ve been certified organic by Delinat, which has the most stringent organic guidelines in Europe, since 2013. The winery’s owners also partner with nearby universities and nonprofits to research ways to preserve their local landscape.
“The best fertilizer is a farmer’s footsteps,” according to the team behind this Napa, California wine brand. All of their vineyards are organic (or on the way to becoming so). They plan native grasses, aim to limit water use and support the well-being of the soil—and their staff. Vineyard workers are employed all year long, unlike many other wineries, and can access health insurance and take advantage of internship and educational opportunities.
Chemical herbicide-free for its entire 27 years of existence, this Long Island, New York winery saves water by eschewing irrigation. Macari is an industry innovator in the soil space; they joined forces with scientists at Stony Brook University to learn how to make their own kelp-infused compost to act as a natural fertilizer and help rejuvenate the soil.
Frank Family Vineyards
This Napa, California winery is driven by a “Green to our Roots” mission that includes sustainability certifications with Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green. In 2022, Frank Family became the first Napa Valley winery to sign up for MCE Deep Green, which means the winery operates on 100% renewable energy (wind and solar are the powerhouses here). Frank Family Vineyards’ roots go deep into the community as well. In 2018, the leadership founded “Frank for a Cause,” an annual fundraiser that has raised more than $100,000 to date to give back to nonprofits like K9s For Warriors, Feeding America, the Humane Society and the Arbor Day Foundation.
Consider using pulp shippers and lighter glass bottles so that more wine can fit on trucks at a lighter weight. Look for eco-friendly shippers that offset their footprints. This is a good way to keep things in your shipping department sustainable.What is a green winery? ›
Green wine is usually described as being highly acidic and slightly fizzy, but the only thing that actually makes green wine green is where it's produced. Any wine that comes from the Vihno Verde region is officially green wine, regardless of how it was made.What is sustainably farmed wine? ›
Sustainable wines aim to have a winemaking process that protects the environment, supports social responsibility, maintains economic feasibility, and produces high quality wines. As grapes are grown, harvested, and made into wine, a multitude of environmental factors are prioritized.What does certified green mean for wine? ›
Napa Green Vineyard certification provides a pathway for growers to improve soil health, become carbon neutral to negative within six to nine years, and increase the resilience of vineyards, businesses, and our community.Why is sustainability important in wine? ›
These sustainable vineyard and winery practices conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, enhance relations with employees and communities, preserve local ecosystems and wildlife habitat and improve the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.How do you know if wine is sustainable? ›
No doubt about it, the easiest way is to check the label. Wines that are organic, biodynamic, or sustainable will have a certification that verifies that fact—and, more often than not, they'll put that right on the label.What are the three green wine making methods? ›
The three main movements we'll discuss here in terms of alternative wine production are “organic,” “bio-dynamic” and “natural” wines. The three represent a departure from current, conventional winemaking, and diverge from some mass-market practices to create something truly special.Why is white wine green? ›
Red grapes generally make red wines, but not always. Green grapes make white wines, which are not always white. Furthermore, the time the wine is fermented and the type of grape it is and the type of growing season it was and where the grape was grown all impact the color the wine.How do they make green wine? ›
The green wine grapes are only harvested after full ripening, after all, we aren't talking about verjus (an acidic immature grape juice). The naming is believed to have come from the lush green vegetation of the region of Minho, where these wines are produced.Does sustainable wine taste better? ›
Organic wines were preferred an amazing 77% of the time. “Although a description was not requested, they indicated a longer and deeper taste in the mouth, with less artificial aromas.”
While sustainable wine looks to minimize the impact of wine production on the ecosystem, organic wine is focused on minimizing the use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides to help the grapes grow.What is ethical wine? ›
Ethical organic wine making includes wines that are sustainable, biodynamic, affordable, and produced with fairtrade labor. Organic wine is made without harming the environment, and the sustainability comes from the farmers taking care to not cause any negative environmental impacts.Are all red wine bottles green? ›
Wine bottles comes in various colors, but the most common colors tend to be dark green and amber. Traditionally, dark green wine bottles are used for red wines, while amber wine bottles are usually for sweet white wines. Light green wine bottles are typically for dry white wine.What color is green wine? ›
Vinho Verde (which is sometimes translated as “green wine”) is a crisp, aromatic, low alcohol, and often slightly spritzy wine from the North of Portugal. Despite the translation, Vinho Verde is never green: it's usually a white wine, although it's possible to get red Vinho Verde and rosé vinho verde as well.What is code red wine? ›
Product description. A rich, concentrated wine from the hillside vineyards of Napa Valley. Briary components of blackberry dominate the aroma and flavors. Strong and structured this wine will easily age 10 -15 years but can be enjoyed immediately with tomato based pastas and rich grilled or roasted meats.Is wine making environmentally friendly? ›
With the use of fertilizers, pesticides, soil, land, water, and energy it's responsible for approximately 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. And wine production is no exception, the process of growing grapes and transforming it into wine, contributes to those effects as well.Is wine in a can sustainable? ›
Just like glass, aluminum is infinitely recyclable and inert, meaning it won't interact with the wine and change it. The carbon footprint of a can is approximately 70 percent lower than standard glass bottle per litre of packaged wine.Why are glass bottles sustainable? ›
Glass is a fully recyclable material that can be recycled in close loop over and over again. This is particularly true for glass bottles which on average have a recycling rate varying from 50% to 80%. Thanks to glass recycling, significant amounts of raw materials are saved and natural resources are preserved.What is the ideal environment for wine? ›
Winemakers know that wine grapes grow best in climates that aren't too tropical, too arid or too reminiscent of arctic tundra. Most of the suitable climates are found between 30° – 50° latitude, both north and south.How can you tell if wine is clean? ›
Clean wine is wine made from natural grapes, without any added sugar, sulfites, or preservatives. You'll typically find clean wine is harvested from organic or sustainable vineyards, farmed without pesticides or harmful chemicals.
As wines age, they lose their chlorophyll molecules and take on a browner color. Green wines can come from any grape variety, but they're most commonly made with Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon. These varieties have high levels of acidity, which can make them taste tart or even harsh.What turns red wine green? ›
For more than a generation, experts have told wine lovers that green, vegetal tastes in red wines represented a serious winemaking flaw triggered mainly by the presence of pyrazines. This organic compound is found in grapes and becomes noticeable when they fail to ripen properly.What green herbs are in wine? ›
- Basil. Fresh basil is the perfect garnish on summer pastas and Caprese salad, plus it's the main ingredient in pesto sauce. ...
- Cilantro. The most polarizing herb, people either love it or hate it. ...
- Dill. ...
- Mint. ...
- Oregano. ...
- Parsley. ...
- Rosemary. ...
The main reason for the green colour is that the bottle must protect the wine against light. The green colour of the bottles, due to its shade, can filter up to 60% of the radiation and thus protect the wine.Which wine is better red or white? ›
Red wine is widely believed to be a healthier choice than white wine, but this is based on limited data and speculative reports, according to experts quoted in a January 28, 2022 Wall Street Journal article.Why drink white wine over red? ›
White wine is also lower in tannins, meaning those who don't enjoy the drying effect of highly tannic drinks, or those with tannin sensitivity should choose white wine over red.Do white grapes turn red? ›
The French call this process veraison (“verr-ray-zohn”). Veraison also occurs in white grapes, but without the color changes–white grapes simply become more translucent. See it For Yourself Go to a vineyard in the summer!What grapes make green wine? ›
Six grapes (you've never heard of) dominate the regional blend: Alvarinho, Arinto, Azal, Avesso, Loureiro, and Trajadura. Vinho Verde wines range slightly in style, but most are a touch fizzy, mostly dry, and have green fruit notes.What is the green wine for St Patrick's Day? ›
Its name stems from its location of origin (Veltlin) and its color (green), which make it fair game for a St. Patrick's Day palette. It's also a great option to serve with food, as it tends to pair well with certain flavors (such as pungent vegetables) that don't fare so well with just any wine.
Wine tastes better with age because of a complex chemical reaction occurring among sugars, acids and substances known as phenolic compounds. In time, this chemical reaction can affect the taste of wine in a way that gives it a pleasing flavor.
The short answer is yes. In general, organic wine grapes are much healthier and therefore produce heartier skins and higher concentrations of all of those good for you anthocyanins and antioxidants, including polyphenols and cardio-friendly resveratrol.What wine tastes better with age? ›
Riesling and chardonnay are a couple examples of white wines that can become more well-rounded as they age. Riesling will do better with age than most chardonnays, but a nice, highly acidic, chardonnay can do very well over time.Are sustainable wines vegan? ›
Many organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines can't be considered vegan. Wineries have long used (natural and organic) animal proteins such as isinglass, albumin, casein, gelatin and chitin to remove impurities and sediment from wines.Why is it better to drink organic wine? ›
3 reasons why organic wine is better than standard wine
No artificial chemicals, no synthetic chemicals, no herbicides, no pesticides. Instead, wine growers work with nature to boost the biodiversity of their vineyard. It contains just half of the amount of sulphur dioxide that standard wines contain.
Organic farming is widely considered to be a far more sustainable alternative when it comes to food production. The lack of pesticides and wider variety of plants enhances biodiversity and results in better soil quality and reduced pollution from fertilizer or pesticide run-off.What is bee friendly wine? ›
A Bee Friendly wine is a wine made from grapes without products that are harmful to pollinating insects, especially bees. It is important to know that bees are particularly sensitive to pesticides, especially insecticides.Why is vegan wine better? ›
Vegan Wines May Taste Better
Because vegan wines are usually organic and devoid of additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, they usually taste richer, more vibrant, and fresher than regular wine.
'Vegan wines are made without animal products, so winemakers either leave the particles to sink naturally to the bottom of the wine, or use non-animal fining products usually bentonite, a form of clay or pea protein,' said former Waitrose & Partners wine expert, Matt Johnson.What is the cleanest red wine? ›
Pinot Noir is rated as the healthiest wine because of the high levels of resveratrol. It is made of grapes with thin skin, has low sugar, fewer calories, and low alcohol content. Sagrantino made in Italy contains the highest concentration of antioxidants and is packed with tannins.What alcohol has a green bottle? ›
Absinthe, an alcoholic drink introduced to France in the 1840s, developed a decadent though violent reputation. Le Peril Vert depicts absinthe ravaging the French population.
Clear glass wine bottles actually cost more (as much as two times more) than those that are green or brownish in color. That's because the glass needs to be processed more to remove all pigment from the glass (clear bottles therefore also use more energy).What is the name of the green wine? ›
What is Green Wine? 'Green Wine' is the English name given to wines from the Vinho Verde region in north west Portugal. The wines are not green in color, but the name refers to the verdant nature of the region - So, in fact, they are more correctly called Vinho Verde wines!What white wine looks green? ›
The Color of Sauvignon Blanc
White Wine Color Chart, Item 2 Sauvignon blanc is definitely the most well known wine that has hints of green to the color of it. Wines that have a similar color and “green” taste profile include: Grüner Veltliner (Austria) verdejo (Spain)
Pinot Grigio grapes are picked at a much earlier stage in their development and have greyish-blue hues to their skin; a stark contrast to other white wine varieties that predominantly have light green skin.What does Johnny Depp call red wine? ›
Depp: “A mega pint? I poured myself a large glass of wine. I thought it necessary.” You can hear the crowd crack up when Depp says, “A MEGA PINT?!”Is there fake red wine? ›
Fake bottles are also part of the counterfeiting ring. For example, a producer may only make a specific fine red wine in a certain bottle format. Yet, you may find them in different bottle formats in some stores. These are very likely fake.How can you tell if red wine is real? ›
- Buy from a trustworthy source. Know the person you're purchasing from. ...
- Check the label paper. Blue lights can prove useful to assess authenticity. ...
- Look at the quality of the printing. ...
- Carefully evaluate the label aging. ...
- Confirm staining and branding on the cork. ...
- See the sediment.
Wines made by hand mean less machinery used in production of the wine. Overall, organic wines can lead to a 23% decrease in carbon footprint as opposed to choosing a bottle produced by conventional methods.How can we reduce wine waste? ›
There are a few ways to do this including refrigeration, keeping away from sunlight, using smaller containers, and oxygen removal/displacement products. As a selfish plug, we sell a product that can help prevent your wine from spoiling.What environment is best for vineyards? ›
Adequate sun, heat, and water during the growing season, and enough cold during the dormancy phase are crucial for healthy growth of vines and production of premium quality grapes. Grapevines thrive best in climates with long warm summers, and rainy winters.
- Consume local and seasonal products (forget strawberries in winter)
- Limit meat consumption, especially beef.
- Select fish from sustainable fishing.
- Bring reusable shopping bags and avoid products with excessive plastic packaging.
- Make sure to buy only what you need, to avoid waste.
- Switch it Off. Turn off the lights when natural light is sufficient and when you leave the room. ...
- Climate Control. ...
- Wasteful Windows. ...
- Minimize Plug Load. ...
- Phantom Power. ...
- Give it a Rest. ...
- Take the Stairs. ...
- Loaded Laundry.
While malolactic fermentation is a naturally occurring process, many winemakers choose to use malolactic cultures to ensure that the MLF happens. This is because during a malolactic fermentation, sorbates and sulfites will kill the bacteria.What kills undesired bacteria in wine? ›
"By adding lysozyme when the fermentation problem is detected, it is still possible to stop or slow down the deterioration of the wine. Lysozyme will, at least, ensure that you only have one problem--stuck or sluggish fermentation-- not several, like bacterial spoilage.How do you prevent bacteria in wine? ›
There is no one way to prevent this from happening, but one deterrent is a high ethanol concentration in your wine. Another deterrent is a high acidity level since it can inhibit bacterial growth. In addition, storing wine at a temperature below 15-degrees Celsius can keep bacteria to a minimum.What environment is best for red wine? ›
The optimum storage temperature for any wine is 55°F (~13°C), but you can safely store wine long-term in a range between about 45°F (~7°C) to 65°F (~18°C) if there is not a large change in temperature each day.Are wineries good for the environment? ›
The wine growing industry was not always environmentally conscious. Irrigation and water use have long been an issue in wine-growing regions around the world, where vineyard sites are often in rugged and dry climates. More recently, wineries have dumped more than their fair share of chemicals on the land.What makes a vineyard organic? ›
Going by these definitions, organic wines are derived from grapes grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Additionally, all the ingredients are certified.What are the 6 factors to contribute to the quality of the wine? ›
- Ripeness Level of Grapes. How ripe the grapes are will affect their sweetness and acidity level. ...
- Cold Soaking. ...
- Fermentation Temperatures. ...
- Type of Aging Containers. ...
- Capping Method.
- Chill wine. As temperatures drop, flavors become muted. ...
- Adulterate it. That is, make a spritzer. ...
- If it's red, drink it with mushrooms. ...
- If it's sweet, drink it with something spicy. ...
- If it's oaky, drink it while you're grilling. ...
- Drop a penny in. ...
- Bake it into a chocolate cake.
Put a lemon in that lemon
A squeeze of lemon is the quickest and easiest way to brighten flabby wine. Allow your glass to sit for a minute to make sure the lemon is well mixed in, and then wipe the rim of the glass to ensure there's no residue.