The World Inside Your Glass

April 19, 2018

There’s a whole world of stuff going on in your wine glass.

A thousand decisions were made in order to get that beautiful liquid into your glass, and each one of them impacted the environment in some way.

Catchwords like “organic,” “biodynamic” and “natural” have made their way into everyday conversations concerning wine, but rarely do we dig into what those words actually mean. (For more information on the definitions of these words, check out this post from last year.) Sure, these kinds of wines might make you “feel better” (physically or psychologically), but the farming and winemaking practices that went into making them are equally as important if we want to continue enjoying them!

Conscientious farmers take into account what their “wine footprint” does to their land. Do they choose to use pesticides or fertilizers that will strip the soil of its natural nutrients and ability to revitalize itself? How will they fight against insects and critters that threaten to ruin their vineyards? Will they decide to manipulate their wines in the winery? What will their mode of packaging and transportation be? All these decisions affect the sustainability of the land they work and the environment they’re a part of.

This Earth Day, we invite you to explore the wide range of sustainable, organic, biodynamic and natural wines featured at France 44. Our “green” wines are available in every section of the store—from California to Italy and almost every region between. Each “green” wine features a tag stating its certification and certifying body, so you can be assured that it’s been well-researched and that the information comes from a trusted source.

And even beyond those cheery green tags, there are dozens of wineries that practice good farming and winemaking techniques, but don’t choose to go through the official process of becoming certified. Ask our staff about what their favorites are, and get to know a new producer that has a positive impact on the environment.

Here are a few conscientious producers to get you started:

Ampeleia Kepos 2015

Elisabetta Foradori has long been a proponent of biodynamic farming methods in her native northern Italy. Her Ampeleia project brings us wines from the Tuscan coast, in a little subregion called Maremma. The Ampeleia Kepos is the perfect introduction to Elisabetta’s style: characterful and packed full of flavor, this Mediterranean blend is comprised of Alicante Bouschet, Alicante Nero and Carignano. Dusty cherry, raspberry and gentle licorice flavors give way to a solid layer of tannins and a hint of earthy funk.

Soter Vineyard’s Planet Oregon is committed to this planet and their place in it. They live and work in the agricultural heartland of Oregon, and take responsibility for the care of the land they work and what they’re given from it. Using the most sustainable methods possible, they create wine in a place where they can monitor carbon emissions, energy use, and waste production. They also work with other like-minded organizations to give back to the earth accordingly, and pledge proceeds from Planet Oregon wines to support the Oregon Environmental Council.

Azul y Garanza Tempranillo 2016

Azul y Garanza is based in northern Spain’s Navarra region, in the middle of the Bardenas Reales Natural Park. Founders Dani Sanchez and Maria Barrena (and Maria’s brother Fernando) work with “landscapes”—not merely vineyards—with each of their plots enjoying as much biological diversity as this harsh climate will allow. Dani and Maria are passionate about organic farming and have invested in farming without the use of pesticides, insecticides, or chemical fertilizers that wear out the soil.