Looking for a way to make the upcoming holiday festivities more sustainable? Whether it’s a quiet family Christmas dinner at home or a big New Year’s Eve party, a new crop of organic wines will give you more reasons to celebrate.
When you look at the health benefits of a glass of wine, it’s easy to see why some cultures consider it a daily staple.
Resveratrol in wine is well known for its anti-aging properties, but it has also been proven effective at preventing heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. And grapes are an excellent source of vital antioxidants, necessary in preventing cancer.
Why Organic Wine?
Traditional wines are made from grapes that have been grown with pesticides. Grapes have thin skins, so the conventional varieties are best avoided if you don’t want to ingest the residue of what the grapes absorbed.
Organic wines are grown using sustainable practices. And they don’t contain harmful toxins, so they’re naturally better for your body. The USDA says organic wine is “produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.”
Sustainable viticultural practices not only produce better wine, they also nourish the land and entire ecosystem, so that delicious wine can continue to be sustainably produced for years to come. By supporting vineyards and vintners who farm their land sustainably, you help increase demand for sustainable farming.
Pioneering A New Crop of Sustainable Wines
One Oregon vineyard is doing its part to help create that sustainable future. All of Willamette Valley Vineyards (WVV) properties are certified by both LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe. The combination of these two certifications results in “sustainable viticulture” – the implementation of practices that reduce reliance on synthetic chemicals and fertilizers with the goal of protecting the farmer, the environment, and communities at large.
When owner Jim Bernau started growing grapes at Willamette Valley Vineyards, there were only a handful of California wine makers farming vineyards in the Willamette Valley. As a native Oregonian, Jim wanted to contribute to the development of the valley by growing distinctive Pinot Noir on its slopes. A true environmentally friendly business, he believed in acting as a responsible steward of the land. Today, more than 340 wineries and 400 vineyards thrive in the valley.
“Our winery and production facility are also certified through LIVE,” says Caitlyn Kari, Willamette Valley Vineyard’s Communications & Sustainability Manager. “By carefully following these practices, our vineyard and winery operations do not produce harmful externalities, ensuring the healthy longevity of our vines and land.”
The superior taste and quality of organic wine has been attributed to the fact that organic vineyards have more natural resistance to pests and poor weather conditions. The grapes for organic wine are hand picked, allowing for only the ripest and healthiest bunches to be used. Unlike mechanical picking, hand picking doesn’t stress or damage the vine, fruit, or soil of future crops.
Tips From Willamette Valley Vineyards
There’s more to enjoying a glass of wine than just choosing an organic wine option. Caitlyn shares some tips for savoring your selection:
Drink From the Right Wine Glass.
Your wine glass has a profound, and often overlooked impact on your experience of the wine. “In our tasting rooms, we always serve wine out of the correct Riedel wine glass, allowing the aromas and varietal characters to be highlighted to best advantage,” Caitlyn says.
The shape of the glass also impacts where the wine hits your palate when you take a sip. Each wine variety shines on a different spot on the palate, and drinking a wine out of the wrong glass may lead you to dislike a wine that you otherwise would have loved. To find out more about pairing wine and glassware, visit Riedel’s guide at www.wineglassguide.com.
Consider Food Pairings
Wines made from grapes grown in the Willamette Valley often have a lively acidity due to the cool climate growing conditions. This adds a palate cleansing aspect to the wine and enriches the flavors in foods. The WVV’s winemaker tastes each wine upon its release and suggests ideal food pairings – ranging from the everyday (pizza), to the formal (Cornish game hen) to dessert (chocolate mousse). Food pairing suggestions are available upon request in the Willamette Valley Tasting Room and are also highlighted on the company’s website.
Avoid Bottle Shock
Transportation, especially by air, can disrupt the diligently crafted cohesiveness of a wine. Fruit flavors can become disjointed, while acidity and tannins can become unpleasantly pronounced. If a bottle of wine is delivered to you, let it settle for about two weeks in a proper storage area before uncorking and drinking it.
Choosing the Right Wine Can Be About More Than Just Enjoying a Great Bottle of Wine
Willamette Valley Vineyards wants to spread the message that each person can make a difference in the world around you. Because profit margins are often narrow, it only takes a small group of like-minded consumers choosing sustainable products for businesses to reconsider their practices.
For example, consumers can save the cork forests of the Mediterranean, second only to the Amazon rainforest in their importance to the world’s biosphere, by opting to buy wines finished with natural cork. Cork oak trees are not cut down, but rather their bark is harvested by hand. Many of these trees live up to 250 years. Declining sales of wines using screw caps or plastic stoppers will make vendors rethink their choices and their commitment to the environment.
Oregon wineries are on the leading edge of sustainable practices within the business community. Caitlyn says, “In coming years, not only will many more wineries join the movement, but they will serve as a beacon to others, which will accelerate the movement toward carbon neutrality in Oregon business operations.”
Originally posted 2009-12-21 22:12:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter