Who doesn't love a nice glass of wine while sitting with friends after a long work week? For many, there is great anxiety associated with choosing the right wine when having guests over. So many pieces go into consideration: region, vintage, variety, winemaker, etc. I bet there is a piece you have overlooked on many occasions when choosing the perfect wine; the green piece.
I'm not trying to make your wine selection process more difficult by adding another factor for consideration. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to make things easier. A "green" wine will be a conversation starter and might encourage others to mimic your environmental consciousness.
What should you look for when choosing an eco-friendly wine?
- Buy Local: Buying local is a good idea whether you are purchasing wine, food, or anything else. It cuts down on shipping waste and fuels small businesses. In the context of wine, a local wine can be less expensive. In addition, many wine shop owners have more experience with local wines and can provide more thorough reviews than they can with non-local wines. Even stores like Whole Foods sell wines from your community. If you want to meet the wine-makers themselves, local wines offer the opportunity to tour the vineyard or ask questions directly at a farmers' market.
- Buy Organic: Buying organic wine has become a little more confusing than it use to be. The USDA recently released standards for organic label products. For a wine to be truly organic, it must be made from organically grown grapes AND be free of sulfates. Very few wines meet both standards. You should look for wines from grapes grown organically because this cuts down on pesticides and toxic fertilizers that infect ground-water supplies and poison lakes and rivers. If you would like a full explanation of the difference between conventional and organic viticulture go HERE. If you are looking for wines from organically grown grapes go HERE.
- Buy Boxed: Many readers will think I should be shot for even suggesting that you purchase boxed wine. Other readers will squeal with joy that they can serve boxed wine with some political correctness. Boxed wines that are made of "Tetra Paks" have a reduced amount of green house gas emissions than glass bottles of wine and require less energy to ship. Avoid those single-serving boxed wines though because they require more packaging for less product. Make sure that when you choose to drink boxed wines, you do it responsibly: recycle the box.