Mar 19 2012
I am taking a somewhat skeptical attitude towards “green” wines. I suspect if you’ve got to market your wine based on features like the winery’s carbon footprint, then there is potentially a reason that you haven’t been able to sell your wine based primarily on its quality. Having said that, what I want in a bottle, (after establishing that it’s good), is uniqueness and expressiveness.
I would like to be convinced by the winemaker that what I’m drinking is dissimilar than any other bottle opened any other day. He won’t convince me of this if he did not put in the time making something that reflects what he grew. For his wine to mirror what he grew, he must take on the responsibility of keeping a vineyard and cellar that will continue to produce for a very long time to come.
Here’s the rub: Great wine must be manufactured sustainably. Wine growers are, at their most basic, farmers. If you do not farm sustainably, you wear out your land, and you are no longer in a position to farm.
The fact that so much is being made of supposed “green” wines is mostly advertising. Wine producers need to be “sustainable” to begin with. If they are not farming their vineyard sustainably, they aren’t making their wine all that carefully either.
In contrast to the public image, many big brands of wine are made with fruit that is bought from farmers who consent to grow X amount using Y strategies. The downside of this is that it really puts the growers at the whims of the market. If they are unable to produce, then someone else who grew more will earn more.
If you’re interested in buying green wine, one superb way to support responsible farming is to purchase wines made from estate fruit. Estate fruit means that the wines come from grapes the winery grew. The winery and the vineyard become inherently linked, and, as such, more responsible treatment of the land is necessary. Otherwise, the winery will be unable to produce wine anymore.
Patrick Suleski has been with Colonial Spirits, a Concord liquor store, since early 2008. Patrick studied to become a Sommelier in Florence, Italy, before returning to the US to pursue wine as a career. Quite able with his wine selections, Patrick can also recommend what food to pair with your favorite wine, and can often tell you which blues artist is jamming over the shop’s PA. Colonial Spirits’ latest venture is Colonial Spirits Delivers, an online wine store, which supplies wine, sparkling wine, liquor, and beer delivery to Eastern Mass.