The guide to buying eco-responsible wines

Ohen you sip a glass of wine, what do you notice first? Maybe it has fruity notes or an earthy flavor, or maybe it just tastes like wine to you. Whatever your palate preference, what you might not notice (or even think about) is how this wine went from grape to glass.

But the durability of your sip is definitely something you should Consider, according to Simone Boone, certified sommelier and owner of Apogee Wine Bar, if you’re a total oenophile or if your knowledge of wine begins and ends with “red” and “white.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a wine expert or not, we should all care about being more eco-conscious,” Boone says. “Shifting to a more sustainable lifestyle is just the right thing to do, but especially if you’re doing something that comes from the Earth. Taking care of the soil, the environment and having a sustainable mindset is essential to the longevity of the wine industry.. Why don’t we take care of the earth and the people who work to preserve Mother Nature?”

Seems quite logical, right? So if you want to make your next wine party a little more sustainable, Boone shares his tips on what to look for in eco-friendly wine, starting with one of his go-to sustainable labels: Cambria Estate Winery.

The woman-owned winery has had sustainability certifications for 10+ years, and if it’s sommelier-approved, you know it’s legit (umCambria has also received 45 scores of over 90 points over the past five years from top wine publications around the world).

“Sustainability is integral to everything we do at our vineyards and cellars,” says Katie Jackson, second-generation owner and senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Cambria Estate Winery. “All of our sustainability efforts have been tied to the principle that we should protect and improve the environment, care for our employees and our communities, and help our vineyard continue to produce delicious wines for generations to come. to come.”

Keep reading for more expert insight on selecting an eco-friendly wine, and keep this guide handy next time you visit the store. (Cheese and chocolate pairings not included.)

Scroll down for your eco-friendly wine buying guide.

1. Look for certification labels

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a wine by its label… in a way. Boone says to look for certifications and endorsements like “sustainably made” when browsing shelves of otherwise identical bottles, and Jackson agrees.

“If you’re in a grocery store or wine shop and aren’t sure if the wine is sustainable, the best way to identify one is to look for the California Certified Sustainable logo, like the one featured on our Cambria wines,” Jackson says. . This is how you know you’re getting the crème de la crème of eco-friendly wines.

2. Talk to a wine professional

If you’re a bit hesitant to just use the label as a guide (Boone admits that sometimes even the prettiest labels don’t equal the tastiest wine), lean on experts to guide you, whether you’re specifically asking about sustainability or wondering what to serve with dinner.

“There’s no shame in asking someone who works in a store a few questions,” Boone says. “And if you’re lucky enough to have a good wine bar near you, like Apogee Wine Bar, you can always come in and taste something.” Cambria Estate Winery also recently completed a total overhaul of its tasting room, which sounds like a great reason to plan a trip to Santa Barbara if you ask us.Taste a drink, visit a certified sustainable vineyard, and learn more about wine? We’ll applaud that.

3. Research the history of wine

Now that you’ve been pointed in the right direction to wines that you’ll actually find tasty, the next step is to do a little research on the story behind each bottle. “People want to drink a good glass of wine first, but they also want to feel good,” Boone says.

More importantly, seek green answers to the big questions. “Who is the winemaker? Is it a family business? What unique things do they do in the vineyard or in the cellar? Boone asks.

On this front, family-owned Cambria Estate Winery prides itself on using innovative practices so winemakers can grow the highest quality fruit possible. “We deploy many sustainability practices in our cellars to help us conserve and save water, power our winery operations with clean and renewable energy sources, and many other environmentally friendly approaches,” says Jackson.

4. Browse by region

“One thing to remember is that wine is an agricultural product, so everything you admire most about that glass of wine — the aromas, the flavors, connecting you to its terroir — it all starts in the vines,” Jackson says.

Vineyards are defined by the region they are in, so Boone’s final piece of advice is to consider where your bottle of eco-friendly wine comes from, as often the region will be a clue as to whether the culture of that place values ​​sustainability. .

“If you shop in ‘Old World’ areas like Italy, finding calls on the label is very rare because many winemakers have been doing things ‘sustainably’ for hundreds of years, and they don’t feel the need to call it out,” Boone says. “While ‘New World’ regions like South Africa, Oregon or Santa Barbara are differentiating and making sure consumers know their region is a quality place by communicating what is most important to them directly on the label.”

Next time you fill your glass, toast to certified sustainable sips that are good for the environment and great for happy hour.

Want to sip certified sustainable wine? Click here to find a bottle of Cambria near you. Well + Good readers can also get 20% off all Cambria Estate Winery orders over $100 with code WELLANDGOOD.

Top photo: Cambria Estate Winery

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