The Future Of Sustainable Wine Production
The verdict is in: consumers overwhelmingly prefer companies and products that are based on sustainable practices according to the findings of a recent Nielsen report. That’s good news for the world, as sustainable practices are integral to the future of our planet in every industry. Wine, in particular, heavily depends on the sun, air, and water that the earth provides and many wine providers are working towards sustainability, even presenting alternatives to the classic wooden corks that come from oak trees. More than just the corks, however, there are many sustainable practices in winemaking that have a bright future.
Packaging and Shipping
At the forefront of sustainability is the packaging and shipment processes used to transport wine from the vineyard. This is an important area to consider, as large trucks and an assortment of containers are required to transport large amounts of grapes and bottles. Driving and hauling techniques such as innovative aerodynamics, alternative fuels, and better tires are just some ways that transportation of wine has improved. Vineyards themselves are focusing on packing their products better to conserve space and require fewer trips. In addition, recycling and reusing the crates can drastically reduce the carbon footprint in transportation. Cellars Wine Club uses all recycled pulp trays for all of their shipping.
Growing And Harvesting
The growing and harvesting of wine are dependent entirely on the vineyards, who are taking more and more responsibility for sustainable future practices. There are a number of ways to make the practice more sustainable, such as water management and energy efficiency. Some practices to make wine production more water sustainable are mulching, applying compost, and planting cover crops. Mulch retains water and slowly seeps it into the soil, requiring less irrigation in the long run. Cover crops can redirect rainfall down the stems and into the roots rather than scattering randomly in the soil, maximizing the utility of rainfall. By being smart with water usage, wineries can dramatically increase efficiency.
Energy efficiency is also largely important in the future of sustainable winemaking. More wineries are taking to installing solar panels, which are often subsidized by their local governments. In additions to using solar panels, vineyards can lower energy consumption housing tanks internally and using two different refrigeration glycol systems instead of running one consistently. While it may sound counterintuitive to use two systems to save energy, it works by utilizing one high-powered system only during the hectic harvest season and using the other, more efficient machine the rest of the year. This way, wineries are only using powerful machines when they most need them.
Looking To The Future
With consumers drifting towards more sustainable companies and practices, sustainability is the future of production. We only have one earth, and we need its resources to both survive and create great tasting wine. More and more wineries are adopting energy efficient processes, with California already leading the effort into the future. Sustainability can also cost less. By utilizing trucks to the fullest and packaging smartly, fewer shipments and fuel are needed in the long run. And by using solar panels and implementing efficient water practices, wineries can save money on irrigation and electricity costs. It’s comforting to know that such a great product can be made sustainably.