Sustainability and organic shouldn’t be buzzwords. Our Earth can’t afford for them to be.
As the person responsible for setting the overall sustainability strategy of the 50-year old vintner, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, located in the heart of California wine country, I’ve learned first-hand the innovation required to tackle environmental issues. But what exactly is ‘sustainable wine’? It’s important to separate myth from fact.
Myth #1: Sustainable and organic mean the same thing
Simply put, they don’t. When consumers think about the two, there is often confusion around what the accreditations mean. Being sustainable means meeting the needs of the present without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming.
Originally inspired by the quality of organically farmed vegetables, Bonterra Organic Vineyards’ founding team was among the first in California to embrace organic farming and practices for grapevines. In 2014, Bonterra became the world’s first certified Zero Waste-certified winery and were the first to sign The Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
Myth #2: Organic is inaccessible
A widely shared myth is that organic wines are inaccessible. The future is green for wine. The organic wine industry is booming as the demand for organic products and offerings has increased. At Bonterra, we grow wine organically and sustainably, treating the land with deep respect. We plant native flowers around our grapes to attract beneficial bugs, and welcome songbirds and chickens into our vineyards to eat up pests. We even employ sheep to mow between the vines.
In our vineyards, every living thing is connected and we all work together to create pure, flavourful wine. A great accessible organic vino to opt for next time you’re in the LCBO is the Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO: $21.95), offering aromas of bright cherry, currant and raspberry with notes of oak and vanilla. In the glass, you will find flavours of cherry and currant and a lingering and thoughtful finish.
Myth #3: Pesticides and herbicides are a part winemaking
In order to be certified organic, wine must be made from grapes grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming. Organic grapes are grown without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. A common misconception is that these synthetic additives are an essential part of the process, but there are natural options that wineries can use as an alternative. Instead of spraying the vines with chemicals to ward off pests, Bonterra calls on help from their animals ”partners” who freely offer natural solutions.
This allows our Bonterra Chardonnay (LCBO: $19.95) to have one of the best natural wines. It has an initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by richer notes of pineapple, citrusy lemon and crème brûlée.
Don’t let sustainability and organic simply be buzzwords this Earth Day. By understanding and becoming aware of these practices allows you to make more educated decisions as a consumer. At Bonterra, practicing sustainability and producing organic products is seen as essential due to our commitment to leave the Earth better than we found it. I’ve seen firsthand how we can honour our land, yet still allow it to yield quality products that we’re excited to enjoy.