The further we get into the twenty-first century, the more people care about the future of the planet. Veganism and vegetarianism are on the rise as people make an effort to foster sustainable food and drink habits, and and there’s increasing concern with climate change, becoming more environmentally friendly and reducing carbon footprint.
The wine industry is no different. Many wine producers now feel the environmental and social responsibility to produce sustainable and organic wines – something we wholeheartedly support and admire Wanderlust Wine for promoting.
We believe that sustainable wine is the future, and we’re here to tell you why.
Sustainability in the Wine Industry
Did you know that it takes over six gallons of water to produce just one gallon of wine? That may not sound like a lot, but when you picture how much wine is produced each year, it really adds up. In the past, many people – and businesses – wouldn’t have batted an eye at that number. Thankfully that’s changing.
The twentieth century saw a significant rise in the use of chemicals like herbicides, fungicides and pesticides as a means to control diseases and pests and produce a bigger harvest. Again, that was considered the norm – just a part of wine production.
All this is without even mentioning the carbon footprint that is left just from the carbon emissions caused from transporting region-specific wine by ground and air.
We’ve now come to realise that unsustainable habits like these are cause for concern, both for the environment and the farmers (working with chemicals, for example, can cause health issues down the line).
What is Wine Sustainability?
Sustainable winegrowing takes into account how “green” or environmentally conscious a producer is, as well as how socially responsible they are and how their employees are treated – which is important for a variety of reasons.
- It’s good for the earth, the environment and our collective future.
- It is good for the grape growers, farmers and workers – fewer pesticides means fewer health issues.
- It’s good for business – people are caring more and more about how the wines they purchase are produced, meaning sustainable wine is becoming increasingly popular.
Taking these three factors into account is a triple win!
We can all agree that sustainable wine is the future – and importers such as Wanderlust Wines practise what they preach. They work with small producers who have the same sustainable ethos to ensure the wines they sell are good quality and good for the environment.
To ensure you are doing your part and consuming sustainable wine, you should think about the producer or seller you are buying from. Sustainable producers that get the stamp of approval from Wanderlust Wines do the following:
1. Avoid using chemicals during the production process
As we mentioned above, using chemicals like pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to prevent diseases and pests is bad for the health of the people who are spraying these chemicals and handling the grapes during the production process.
Instead, aim for producers that handle pest control differently – for example, ones that promote biodiversity by investing in insectaries (plants that will attract pests and keep them off of crops) or having birds that can help to keep infestations down.
2. Save water whenever possible
Some wine producers have implemented water-saving systems, such as natural purification. One way this can be done by filtering water waste through constructed wetlands with plants (more biodiversity!) that scrub and purify the water within their roots. The now clean water then collects into a second pond, where it can be distributed throughout the rest of the vineyard. Millions of gallons of water can be saved this way.
3. Use eco-friendly packaging
Producers can lessen their carbon footprint simply by changing how they package their wines. Moving to lighter glass bottles reduces the weight during transportation, which helps saving on CO₂ emissions. Trying an alternative type of packaging is a good idea as well – after all, producing glass is very energy-intensive. Kegs and Bags-in-Box, for example, work surprisingly well: they’re lighter to ship and are reusable.
4. Don’t fall victim to mass production techniques
There are a variety of common mistakes used in the production of many mass-made wines that aren’t good for the environment, the employees or the wine itself – which is another reason why we favour small wine producers such as the ones imported by Wanderlust Wines. It’s a good rule of thumb to avoid producers that:
- Add sugar – Sugar is added to boost the wine’s final alcohol percentage and balance it. It is done for a variety of reasons,including if the minimum levels of alcohol by law haven’t been reached or if the harvested grapes are sour, overripe or underripe.
- Use powdered tannins – Powdered tannins are added to red wines that are of a poorer quality than expected.
- Acidify the wine – Acidification is used to give balance to poor quality grapes and extend shelf life.
- Add chemically derived yeast – This makes every bottle of a specific type of wine taste the same and gets rid of the individual personality of each bottle.
- Change the wine’s water levels – Producers can get more wine per bottle by adding water or a higher alcohol content by removing water. Either way, these are big industry no-nos.
When in Doubt, Stick to a Brand Committed to Sustainability
It can be difficult to identify whether or not a wine is sustainable. When you go to the supermarket, for example, all the wines may start blending together and looking the same. We hope that one day all wine available will be guaranteed to be sustainable – and we think the world is well on the right track.
Until then, the best way to ensure that you are definitely getting a sustainably produced wine that you can be proud to sip and share, we recommend sticking to a supplier that prioritises sustainability so that you know you’re getting a product that is ethical as well as delicious. That’s why we at The Good Hemp collated the Sustainable Food Delivery Guide, listing businesses, like Wanderlust Wine, that have sustainability at the core of their philosophy.
Here’s to the future of wine!
This is a guest-post by the Good Hemp
Good Hemp is a small plant-based business from sunny Devon. They make food and drink from hemp seeds that taste pretty good without harming our planet.