The Future of Wine - Sustainable Luxury
If wine is an expression of the terroir, soil that is heavily laden, or even lightly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers must surely affect the jus. Indeed, master sommeliers and renowned winemakers are turning to age-old organic practices in both growing the vines and making the wines. The goal is to rejuvenate the terroir and bring the art of winemaking back into the marketplace because as all savvy winemakers know, sustainable luxury is a growing trend that future generations of wine lovers are embracing. From the growing popularity of Pet Nat wines to wine is eco-friendly packaging, the next generation of consumers are asking for environmentally friendly solutions.
Many old-world wineries are quick to understand the benefits of sustainable practices in both the vineyard and the winery, and they are implementing sustainable growing, packaging, and delivery solutions.
A Green Deal Report on Wine
The European Union’s Green Deal announced in 2020 has put sustainability firmly at the heart of the current and future policymaking in Europe. (1) And The study on the state of play of sustainability initiatives in the wine appellation sector attached “provides insights and recommendations to the European wine appellation sector on potential future approaches to sustainability, taking into account the urgency to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, among others, and the ambitious targets set by the EU’s sustainability agenda for agriculture and food production.” (2)
Within the European wine appellation sector, the majority of PDO wine producer groups strongly agree that the definition of ‘sustainable wine’ involves primarily efforts that are associated with the protection of the surrounding environment and local heritage and namely:
- ‘Protect biodiversity and the landscape’ (68% of the respondents).
- ‘Prevent harming the natural environment while producing the wine (e.g., reduction of pesticides, fertilizers, water, no in-row weeding etc.)’ (65%); and,
- ‘Preserve regional or local heritage and traditions’ (57%). (3)
Consumers Are Asking for It
According to the study, the most prominent drivers pushing a PDO wine producer to develop or adhere to a sustainability initiative are that:
● ‘Consumers are asking for it’ (93% respondents selected this driver as one of the five most important ones);
● ‘They want to protect biodiversity and the landscape’ (88% respondents selected this driver as one of the five most important ones).
● ‘They want to limit the impact of wine production on the environment’ (83% respondents selected this driver as one of the five most important ones); and,
● ‘They feel it is the right thing to do’ (82% respondents selected this driver as one of the five most important ones and 34% respondents selected this option as the most important driver). (4)
A Sustainable Wine Industry
Floods. Fires. Famines. Once upon a time these national and international disasters were a once in a lifetime occurrence. Now they are the new norm for most countries across the globe.
Winemakers from California to Queensland have seen the seen the impact of climate change in their vineyards, and they have no choice but to rethink how they will manage the vineyard to cope with rising temperatures, increased or decreased rainfall, and nutrient-depleted soil.
In a recent podcast with wine author and educator Jane Anson, Robert Tas and Jane discuss how the wine industry is moving forward, how packaging plays a role, and how to change people’s perception of what luxury is in a sustainable future.