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Guide to green wines: biodynamic sustainable natural organic.

Green Movement Sprouts Opportunity for Wine & Spirits

Going green is gaining acceptance by wine growers, producers and consumers, as well as the press which means distributors, retailers and restaurateurs who embrace these products are finding ways to make their own green.

Emerging retail opportunities recently led to the first annual Green Wine Summit in Santa Rosa, Calif. Wine producers and retailers discussed consumer demand and production standards (just what makes wine green, anyhow?).

Green embraces sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices according to Paul Dolan of the Mendocino Wine Co., a leader/pioneer in sustainable practices. He told attendees that green growers raise healthier vines and vintners produce richer, more flavorful wines.

The public is beginning to believe that "healthier" can also taste good--the term "quality" is starting to be applied to wines produced by green methods. Robert Parker, Jr. wrote, " ... it is a healthy movement, and there is no question that the results are better and produce better fruit, and ultimately, better wines." Bottom line: When two similar wines are recommended in a restaurant or store, many consumers choose the "green" one.

Market growth can be seen in the fact that vineyards covering 63 percent of California's wine acreage are now green.

Brian Lechner, Director, Beverage Alcohol, the Nielsen Company, told Summit participants that 78 percent of table wine consumers are open to if not actively motivated by sustainability. The results, contained in a study done with the Natural Marketing Institute, are based on a LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) panel used to identify households that buy high-end wines ($20+) at least once a month.

How can retailers profit? First ask distributors for green wines. As more green wines become available, distributors add them to their catalogues, but sales reps often aren't aware of which selections are green or when a long-established winery converts to green practices, such as Grgich Hills Estate.

The second step is to make it easy for consumers to understand the benefits. Nielsen's Lechner said many restaurants now identify organic wines on their menus.

Finally, arrive at a definition of "green" and train staff to explain its benefits with stepped up marketing that will bring in more green from consumers already primed to think green.

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Banrock Station

It began with our own piece of earth. Banrock Station is a large property on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia. When purchased in 1994, the land was severely degraded. A massive undertaking has seen the areas native wetlands and woodlands restored, creating a healthy environment for wildlife, as well as many of the world's classic grape varietals. Our journey has inspired us to help others as well. To date, Banrock Station has supported 95 conservation projects in 13 countries, and counting.

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Clos du Bois

Clos du Bois is a recognized leader in developing, implementing and promoting sustainable agriculture and environmentally responsible business practices, in the following 6 key areas: Recycling Programs, Energy Efficiency, Responsible Water Consumption, Integrated Pest Management, Restoration of Ripanan Habitat, and Wetland Restoration. Wine Spectator recognized Clos du Bois as a "Green Revolutionary" in 2007. Clos du Bois has received additional recognition from: Bay Area Green Business Program, PG&E, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, National Marine Fisheries, California Water Resources Control Board, U.S. Department of Commerce, and others.

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Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay

Founded 125 years ago, Wente Vineyards is the country's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. Owned and managed today by the Fourth and Fifth Generations of the Wente family, the winery draws from nearly 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed Estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, and Arroyo Seco, Monterey winegrowing regions to make an outstanding portfolio of wines. With aromas and flavors of bright cherry, vanilla and cinnamon, this wine exhibits rich, yet approachable tannins and a long, smooth finish.

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Murrieta's Well Red Meritage 2005, Livermore Valley

Estate Grown in the Livermore Valley, this Bordeaux-style wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Each varietal is aged separately from one to four months in a mix of small French, American and Eastern European oak barrels. After careful final blending, the wine is aged for fifteen months in French oak barrels prior to bottling. This wine delivers well-integrated dark berry, vanilla, cinnamon and mocha flavors that are impressively deep and long-lasting on the finish.

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Tamals Estates Zinfandel 2006, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay

Limited yields from Estate Grown, old-vine Zinfandel produce fruit with outstanding depth and concentration, resulting in a mouth-filling Zinfandel with robust strawberry, raspberry and pepper aromas and flavors. This wine is delicious with a variety of foods, from rich and spicy to light and savory.

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Giancarlo Ceci's--Agrinatura Italian Bianco

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Puglia (Italy)--100% Italian Chardonnay Winemaker: Lorenzo Landi

The Agrinatura Estate is in the Italian Province of Puglia, near the village of Andria.

Bright yellow color. This chardonnay has aromas of lemon curd, baked apple and spiced nuts. Soft, silky entry to a dryish medium body with golden raisin box, green apple skin, and citrus peel accents. Finishes with a mild, mineral and caramel accented fade. Pairs well with any roasted fish with herbs. 86 points--Wine Enthusiast.

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Stefany--Italian Spumante

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Winemaker: Settimo Pizzolato

The Pizzolato family has been farming organically on their vineyards since 1985. The estate is located in the rich and flourishing countryside in the north of Treviso, and the vineyards are situated on the plains and hillsides near PIAVE river. Color: pale straw-yellow with greenish tinges. Nose: delicate, soft, fruity, with flavors of fresh bread crust, characteristic. Taste: well-orchestrated, slightly aromatic, typical Serving suggestions. Ideal with raw seafood.

Excellent with dessert and panettone.

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L De Lagarde Bordeaux Rouge

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Winemaker: Lionel Raymond The Vineyard Raymond has been producing wines for 8 generations. Number-one selling Organic Red Bordeaux in the entire Bordeaux Region. Garnet violet color. Dried leaf, berry stem, and sweet spice aromas follow through on a brisk entry to an austerely dry light-to-medium body with dusty flavors, berry seeds, and a charred pepper accents. Quick, chalky, green tomato of vine fade with hard tannins.

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Giancarlo Ceci's--Agrinatura Italian Rosso

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Puglia (Italy)--40% Troia, 40& Montepulciano & 20% Aglianico

Winemaker: Lorenzo Landi

Ruby black color. Aromas of cherry pie, jammy fruit, graphite, and baked root vegetable aromas follow through on a soft, supple entry to a dryish medium body with blackberry and earth accents. Finishes with a crisp, powdery tannin and red apple fade. A nice, balanced food wine to pair with meat stews and meat and pasta dishes.

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VERTVS (VEER-TOOS): Spanish Tempranillo Crianza

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

100% Spanish Tempranillo Crianza from Spain's Oldest Estate Bottled Winery. Winemaker: Dr. Francisco Galbardon. Rested to perfection for six months on French & American oak casks. Garnet color. Creamy pistachio nougat, chocolate mint, cherry, and pepper jelly aromas follow through on a soft, supple entry to a dryish medium body with tangy blackberry and sweet tomato notes. Pairs well with Spanish tapas or pasta with red sauce. 88 Points-BTI.

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Biokult Austrian Gruner Veltliner

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Winemaker: Angela Michlits

Gruner Veltliner is Austria's most famous white wine variety and synonym for freshness, fragrance and harmony. A wine from healthy, lively nature. Pale silvery straw color. Soft and inviting aromas of citrus custard, minerals, and prairie grass follow through on a supple, silky entry to a dryish light body with touch of white pepper and a dry, soft, lingering lime rind and talc fade. A very nice and refreshing aperitif, or serve with seafood or vegetarian dishes. 87 Points-BTI.

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Pizzolato Italian Pinot Grigio, Piave

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Winemaker: Settimo Pizzolato

The Pizzolato family has been farming organically on their vineyards north of Treviso since 1985. This Pinot Grigio has a pale golden color. Caramelized pistachios and honeyed green pear aromas follow through on a soft entry to a dryish light-to-medium body with tangy baked apple and kiwi notes. Finishes in a quick, slightly pithy, nutshell accented fade with chalky fruit tannins. Perfect to match any green salad or asparagus. Could also cut through a creamy sauce well.

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Tarantas Classic Spanish Red Wine

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

D.O. Crianza, Utiel Requena, Spain 70% Spanish Tempranillo & 30% Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep ruby color with a fading rim. Clay, marinated peppers, caramelized eggplant, cherry, cranberry, caramel and spice aromas follow through on a soft, silky entry to a dryish medium body with notes of sour cherry, watermelon find, dust and mossy earth. Finishes with a crisp honeyed dried citrus and dusty tannin fade. A mellow, mature red to pair with roasted pork, chili, or veal chops.

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AIR--Antonio Lopes Ribeiro--Portuguese Alentejo

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Portugal's number one producer of Organic Wines.

Varietals: Aragones, Alicante-Bouchet, Trincadeira, Touriga-Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the vineyard, vinifications are made by vineyards and not by vine varieties, with the purpose of finding the essence of each terroir. Soft and fresh in the mouth, with spicy notes and a long persistence. A Color of ruby red, with hints of violet and an Aroma of prunes and wild mulberry with notes of spices, herbs and leather.

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Pizzolato Italian Prosecco, Veneto IGT.

Organically Grown Prosecco Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Winemaker: Settimo Pizzolato The handpicked grapes are vinified using the Italian Charmat method with temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel and secondary fermentation in sealed tanks for 30 days. Pale straw color. Nougat and peach custard aromas follow through on a crisp entry to a dryish light-to-medium body with baked apple and delicate spice accents. Finishes in an oily nut and lemon rind fade with drying, talc-like fruit tannins. Easily paired with aperitifs and canapes. Gold Medal Winner: Denver International Wine Challenge

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Tarantas Spanish Cava Brut.

Organically Grown Grapes--USDA NOP Certified

Made from the three classical Cava grape varieties (organic Macabeu, Xarello and Parellada) following the champenoise method and laid to rest for more than nine months. Pale yellow, with small and constant bubbles. Complex aroma with fruity and some spice notes. The softness gives a great elegance. Apple, spice and a licorice tickle are nice with duck, and just the thing with fried or spicy foods, brie and Truffle Tremor goat cheese.

Natural Merchants

is one of North America's leading Importers and Distributors of the finest organic wines direct from the European and Mediterranean regions.

The Natural Merchants Selections program highlights more than 150 carefully selected wines from Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, France and Portugal, grown in unique organic terroir, each vineyard producing clean, fresh superior wines that are both good for the earth and tantalizing for the palate.

Selections from the Natural Merchants portfolio of organic wines can be accessed through traditional U.S. wine distributors across the country.

North American Office

Tel: 866.324.5333

Rich Wright

rich@naturalmerchants.com

Sarah Baisley is a contributing editor and the wine steward at the Malibu Pavilions store.
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Author:Baisley, Sarah
Publication:Beverage Dynamics
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:1858
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