Seemingly lost amid everything that’s happening is the world is the fact that tomorrow marks the 50th birthday of Earth Day.
Those who organized the first Earth Day were thought of as hippies by the generation that came before them — “crazy kids” who didn’t understand how the “real world” worked.
Well, time has proven those “hippies” to be more visionary than crazy, as the benefits of looking after Mother Earth with care can no longer be debated.
In the world of wine, sustainable practices both in the vineyards and at the wine estates quickly are evolving to become the norm rather than the exception.
Take, for example, the story of La Puerta Alta in Argentina’s Famatina Valley. The valley is home to some of the world’s highest-altitude vineyards, and La Puerta Alta’s estate vineyard sits more than 3,400 feet above sea level. This fact helps the winery grow expressive grapes because the long growing season accommodates high sugar levels at harvest time.
But that’s only part of the quality formula at La Puerta Alta. Another important factor is that the estate vineyard is certified organic. In Argentina, organic means that farmers can’t use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or insecticides, and may take only take preventive measures in the vineyard. Synthetic fertilizers also are a no-no.
It all adds up to an eco-system that will be more sustainable, and healthy wine grapes that can be transformed into expressive wines.
At Australia’s Leogate Estate, the owners are proud of their NASAA Certified Organic Certificate of Registration, representing that Leogate has attained the national standard for organic and Bio-dynamic produce.
The certificate was awarded by Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and represents the family’s commitment to protecting the land today and for future generations, to farming perfectly healthy grapevines, and to quality in the wine bottle and, ultimately, in the wine glass.
In Spain, Vinos del Viento embraces dry farming and avoids the use of pesticides. That’s the best way to protect the biodiversity of its soils, which play such a key role in the health of the vines and the personality of the wines.
In another nod to sustainability, the estate also utilizes locally fabricated, lightweight bottles that are made from recycled materials.
From Argentina to Australia to Spain and in winegrowing regions around the world, the spirit of Earth Day is felt throughout the year — even if our celebration of Earth Day’s 50th may be a bit quieter than originally planned.