Celebrate Earth Day with Wine!
Every little bit counts!
Our drink choices aren't going to refreeze ice caps or de-acidify the oceans. But if you believe that in the aggregate even our small choices make a big difference there are some things you can do to minimize your wine's environmental footprint.
And best of all, none of these require any sort of sacrifice in quality: delicious and more environmentally friendly choices abound!
1. Drink Local Wines
Trucking wine across the country or floating it across the ocean takes fossil fuels. So drink wine from your own backyard!
If you're in California you know the local wines are world class. You don't need us to tell you how to shop local in California, or why you should!
But if you're in New York it's possible you still don't know just how great our home-state wines are these days. The Finger Lakes is a truly classic region with generations of experience making refined wines. And today it's home to some amazing young winemakers who are giving their all to proving that the terroir is worthy.
Long Island is New York state's other great winemaking regions. If you've ever spent a sunny summer day out in the Hamptons you will undoubtedly seen plenty of the local Rosé getting drunk with much glee by the well-sunned summer set. Because the wines are every bit as joyful as the Provencal rosés that set the bar.
But there's much more to Long Island than the easy sipping pleasures, including some of America's most innovative wineries, like Channing Daughters, who make a stunning range of wines and aperitifs in old world, natural style. These are wines that deserve national and international recognition. Of course, that will be a long time coming: given the enormous audience they're developing in their own backyard it will be a long time before there'll be enough to share with the rest of the world.
2. Drink Organic or Natural
Speaking of Natural Wines, here's a second choice you can make on Earth Day (and every day!): Drink organic, biodynamic or natural wines.
Producers who minimize chemical inputs in their vines and in their wineries have to work harder at every step of the way: preventing disease, growing healthy grapes, fermenting cleanly. But they make all that effort because they believe it leads to better wines. Wines that taste of the grapes and the land, rather than the industrial techniques that make things easier.
Of course, all their hard work is every bit as good for the planet as it is good for the wine. From healthier vineyard workers (who aren't exposed to so many harsh chemicals) to healthier communities (that don't have to deal with chemical run-off), the positive externalities are serious. And that's without even getting into whether you'll feel better drinking wine that you know was made with minimal interventions.
Now, it's worth pausing for a moment to point out something very important: not every wine that is made with minimal interventions is labelled "organic" or "biodynamic." In some cases that's because producers don't want to pay for the government certifications that are required to use the magic words. In other cases, it's because the grape growers don't want to commit to never-ever-ever using chemical inputs. If a whole harvest is at risk and they need to spray a little bit to stay in business, that's what they're going to do.
But just like we try to make better choices in both big and small ways, the growers we feature as minimally-interventionist are doing everything they can to do right every day.
3. Drink Local Spirits
It's not just local wine that has exploded in quality: New York and California are both home to burgeoning spirits makers. In fact, right here in New York City we have a bunch of young outfits making delicious spirits modeled on everything from traditional American Whiskeys to old-school Italian apertivi.
Don't be scared off by the high proofs! Our local spirits are perfect for mixing into delicious cocktails, which you can mix as strong or as mild as your calendar demands.
Here's one of our favorites: