As the number of environmentally aware wine drinkers continues to rise, so have many grape growers’ approaches to cultivating their product. In fact, many choose now to farm either organically or biodynamically to keep attracting such thirsty crowds while drawing new consumers’ interests, too.
The differences between them are slight. Organic farming implies use of natural methods rather than synthetic ones like pesticides or antibiotics. Such efforts are implemented to preserve biodiversity while supporting animal health and welfare, and to discourage GMO use. Likewise, sustainable agriculture exists to protect environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare by using techniques suitable for their preservation. Sound similiar? Yes! However, receiving certification as “Organic” is a lawful matter that involves monetary investment and government checklists, where remaining sustainable is not.
A general outline of these styles of farming involves:
- Crop Rotation: cuts down on pests with preferences for certain crops and replenishes minerals in the soil that would otherwise be depleted by planting a harvest similar to those of preceding years.
- Cultivating a cover crop: plants like clover, barley, and flax can be grown in between rows to help with soil erosion and weed growth, and can enhance soil.
- Crop Tillage: turning the top soil and cover crop over to replenish nutrients within tired soil.
- Pest management: using live animals such as llamas (Emiliana Winery, Chile) or barn owls to discourage rats and bugs from disturbing growing food product.
The wines tasted today fall into each category. First, the Bortolomiel Extra Dry Prosecco, which is composed of grapes that undergo sustainable farming practices. It has plenty of frizzante to offer and a mouth-filling, almost peach pie-like flavor. Next, Wild Hog Pinot Noir, made with organic grapes from the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA in Sonoma County. It has plenty of juicy cherry and red raspberry on the nose, with a silky texture and long, rhubarb-like finish.