Buying Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Wine

Many people around the globe are shifting their habits and adopting eco-minded practices.

Many people around the globe are shifting their habits and adopting eco-minded practices. If you are trying to make more conscious choices, you may be wondering what to do about wine. Wine as a consumer good requires many resources to transport and produce. Not to mention, not all winemakers are committed to responsible practices.

One of the benefits of purchasing eco-friendly wine is increased quality. Since there are fewer chemicals or materials added, the wine has a pure and fruity taste. It provides a clearer expression of the eco-system in which it was grown. Another bonus is that eco-friendly wine is available at all price points.

If you are committed to reducing your carbon footprint and buying “green” wine, here is what to look for while shopping.

wine glass in vineyard

Shop Local

The simplest choice you can make when purchasing wine is to buy from a wine producer that is local. By purchasing local, this means you are reducing the carbon footprint of transporting the bottle to your home. In addition, the variety of grape used to produce that wine is more well-suited to your particular climate, meaning less water wasted and other resources were used to produce the wine. We will touch more on the topic of climate later.

Drought Resistant Grapes

If purchasing local feels too restrictive or is unfeasible, select wine from areas that grow drought-resistant varieties. For example, Greece, Southern Italy, Portugal, Spain, parts of California, and Arizona, must all use grapes that are drought-friendly because they experience long summer seasons and limited or erratic water supply. As water is a vital and sometimes scarce resource, winemakers in these regions must adapt to growing grapes that can tolerate dry seasons.

Sustainable Certifications

When purchasing wine, look for a sustainable certification on the back of the bottle. There are many certifications and each one means a wine producer has met certain standards. Organic, LEED, SIP, and Biodynamic are just a few of the labels you may see. The state of California, and countries of New Zealand, and South Africa have rigorous and comprehensive standards for their wineries. For example, the CCSW seal (Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing) is only granted to winemakers that have met markers in all aspects of their business from pest management to employee well-being. You can read more about the various green certifications for wine (here) to help you make an informed decision the next time you purchase.

Vegan Wine

While the label of “vegan” can lead to a lot of negative assumptions about taste, there is no need to be put off by vegan-friendly wine. This label simply means that no animal products were used to produce the wine. Some producers use egg white or casein to clarify or reduce sediment, but vegan wines use a type of clay for clarification. Look for more and more wines baring the vegan label as this is one of the biggest trends in wine for the coming year.

Boxed Wine and Growlers

Boxed wine previously had the reputation of being a cheap alternative for college students. Today, a lighter alternative to the old cardboard box with wine enclosed in a plastic bag is called Tetra Pak. Tetra Pak is a better eco-alternative as more wine can be fit per container, plus it costs less to transport.

Growlers are increasingly being used for wine as breweries expand to serve wine, too. Purchase a growler from your local brewery and refill with wine as you please.

Recycling Wine Bottles

While we are discussing eco-friendly wines, it is important to discuss what to do after the bottle is empty. If you do plan to recycle an empty bottle, you must take care to thoroughly rinse and dry the bottle before placing it in the recycling bin. You can also check to see if any local wineries have a refillable wine program. Another alternative to throwing away the bottle is to upcycle the bottle to have a new use. Wine bottles make great candle holders, dish soap dispensers, hummingbird feeders, automatic plant feeders, or even a chandelier.

What are some other eco-conscious things you look for when shopping for wine? Comment below and let us know.