Every day is a sort of Earth Day for many wineries, especially for small- and mid-sized wineries, where often the owner and employees live around the property.
It therefore makes sense to avoid using chemical controls in the vineyards, and over the last generation many grape growers have.
But still, sprays and other materials that have been fixtures of conventional, large-scale agriculture can be essential. That’s certainly the case in moist areas such as the Eastern United States. While many may like the idea of “going organic,” it’s often not practical. Chemical controls, even if rarely used, need to remain an option.
Beyond the absolutism of organic is a host of other certifications that show responsible stewardship. One of them is Napa Green, which claims to have slightly more than half of Napa Valley’s vineyards under its third-party certification, including vineyards sourced by legendary producer Cakebread.
Cakebread Napa Valley 2018 Sauvignon Blanc shows elegant mineral and pear smells. The wine tastes of pink grapefruit and citrus around a soft and drinkable frame. It’s ideal for someone turned off by New Zealand sauvignon blanc and looking for more elegance. $30. ★★★★
One of the leading organic wine producers in the United States is the California-based Bonterra, which makes wine from organically grown grapes. The dry Bonterra 2017 California Merlot shows the merlot standard profile of purple fruits such as blueberry and plum with a waft of oak and vanilla. $13. ★★★ 1/2
Other certifications include Fish Friendly Farming, Sustainability in Practice and other regional efforts, such as Lodi Rules. These and many others can be found on the back label. These certifications have a value for orienting the industry toward awareness and creating a community of sustainability.
Even while sheltering the place, go onto the porch or into the yard and celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22.
GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★, Poor ★.