For this Earth Issue of the Harvest Journal, we’re exploring how the often water- and soil-intensive practices involved in grape and wine production are being transformed by industry-wide adoption of sustainable practices, with the charge being led by California wineries and vineyards.
We’re also celebrating a delightful partnership with California Wines Canada, so read on for details about a great offer for LCBO wine buyers that gives back to Second Harvest and includes an exclusive invitation to a live online wine-tasting, as well as complimentary master classes about California wines and so much more.
Wine Wanderlust: California Supports Second Harvest
For Ontario wine-lovers, the spotlight is on California with more than 24 California wines featured in LCBO stores and online for Wine Wanderlust: California, taking place until May 22.
There’s even a special online event that’s sippable, stylish, and supports Second Harvest! The LCBO is offering a California Wine Box of six curated wines for $110.75 that comes with a seven-piece set with everything you need for a backyard picnic — a wine opener, two stainless steel knives, and forks with polished wood handles, a wood cutting board and a durable canvas tote. Just add your favourite fixings for al fresco dining! Plus, with every box purchased, California Wines Canada will make a $5 donation to Second Harvest. Click here to buy the wine box and learn more.
Your California Wine Box purchase comes with an invitation to a unique virtual tasting on May 13 at 7:00pm EST! This live YouTube event will be hosted by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson and features special guests Winemaster Randy Ullom of Jackson Family Estates and Glenn Andrade, SVP Winemaking at Trinchero Family Wines.
Watch a video about Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.
Sustainability by the Grape and by the Glass
By using a holistic approach, California’s vintners are dedicated to keeping both the earth and the people on it safe and secure for many years to come. A prodigious amount of planning, commitment and respect go into maintaining a holistic eco-system of sustainability.
Launched in 2010, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing provides third-party verification that a winery and/or vineyard is adopting and implementing sustainable practices. All certified wineries and vineyards must meet defined prerequisite practices that address key sustainability areas such as soil health, water and energy, and habitat. In 2020, over 80 percent of California vineyards were certified sustainable, encompassing 171 wineries and 2,247 vineyards. Eighty percent of the wines produced in California now come from a Certified Sustainable winery.
Sustainability in the twenty-first century winery or vineyard means incorporating modern innovations like solar power, drip irrigation and alternative fuels. Cutting-edge viniculture also includes partnering with nature like controlling pests by replacing traps and bait with owl boxes to naturally control voles, gophers and moles which can devastate young vines. Adding housing for bluebirds and bats combats sharpshooter insects which spread disease and can kill grapevines quickly.
Sustainability in winemaking is inextricably tied to soil health, and another example of using natural innovation is to plant leguminous cover crops specifically planted to fix nitrogen in the soil, and Brassica-family cover crops like mustard to combat nematodes, a soil-borne pest. Tilling cover crops and composting grape pomace (skins and seeds) also adds organic matter, the “green manure” that improves soil composition as it decomposes.
Responsible and sustainable use of water is another major concern: when not sustainably managed, one bottle of wine can use 10 litres of water in its production. Practices to reduce dependency on water include ponds for water collection, aeration and filtering, used for vineyard irrigation and bin washing; ultra-violet light tank cleaning that uses zero water; and “dry farming” which allows nature to provide water and the root system of the vine to dig deeper to find moisture.
Wine Institute is an association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses that initiate and advocate public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine.
Virtual Master Classes
During the month of April, California Wines is planning four complimentary Virtual Master Classes so interested wine lovers can learn more about wines from the Golden State. Vintners will be joining renowned wine educator and Jancis Robinson contributor Elaine Chukan Brown and Andrea Robinson MS. These webinars are complimentary.
Wednesday, April 7: 2:00pm-4:00pm EST: California Then and Now
Tuesday, April 13: 2:00pm-3:30pm EST: Classic California Chardonnay
Tuesday, April 20: 2:00pm-3:30pm EST: Regional Expressions of California Pinot Noir
Tuesday, April 27: 2:00pm-3:30pm EST: Napa Valley’s King Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Click here for more information and to register.