I have heard some of the old school winemakers and suppliers snort dismissively about sustainability and organic agriculture. They used to be rather smug in the belief that their wines were of higher quality than the 'treehuggers'.
Well, buckle up boys, because those days are over. Now there is tremendous quality and diversity to be found among the world's organic, biodynamic & natural wine offerings. And yes, to the unconverted or just plain cynical, it appears as just clever marketing to be seen as 'green'.
Millennial wine lovers in particular expect companies to be responsible (76% of millennials emphasized the importance of brands being ecologically conscious).
Of course, there are many wineries that operate sustainably out of conviction and if it helps sales, all the better.
If one can turn a profit while caring for the planet and the health of your workers at the same time, that seems a laudable goal to me.
A 1999 study sites 539 cases of pesticide poisoning among California vineyard workers. This was reported cases only. The next highest category was for broccoli (399 cases of pesticide poisoning). I would love to hear if any readers have more recent data.
Lets just assume that most people would rather not work around or with toxic chemicals.
Cowhorn Winery in Oregon hasn't missed a beat when it comes to the triple bottom line & wine. The winery is a certified organic grape grower, as well as a Demeter certified biodynamic grower & winery. This means they also use native yeasts.
But beyond the grapegrowing and winemaking, Cowhorn also 'upcycles' wine bottles via The Green Glass Company and recycles their corks.
But here's the thing, the wines were very good. Crisp, clean, fruit forward wines that can battle any conventionally produced wine out there. Personally, I would love to see what these wines tasted like if the new oak was dialed back a bit further(right now the wines are a blend of new & old oak barrel treatment). But that is my personal taste and one that many wine lovers may not care about at all.
Cowhorn Syrah 2007 $32
Deep purple color. Pick up some spicy oak on the nose. Loads of boysenberry & blackberry fruit. Great acids on the finish with a hint of roasted meat. 13.5% alcohol
Cowhorn Spiral 36 White Blend 2008 $18
Light golden color. Lovely pear & apple flavors, firm acids, a pretty wine at 13.4% alcohol
Viognier 35%, Marsanne 30%, Roussanne 35%
*Cowhorn Syrah 2007 and Cowhorn Spiral 36 were sent to me as samples.