With Earth Day on our mind, making eco-friendly wine choices is another way to go green with your grapes. Angela Aiello, a.k.a. Super Wine Girl, known is working to make wine more accessible and approachable for all. As consumers become increasingly aware of making eco-conscious choices, she is looking to provide them with the knowledge of applying sustainable drinking choices to their spring get-togethers and beyond. —Vita Daily
Hi Angela! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Through the use of both art and science I educate and encourage consumers to taste, learn and love their own unique wine journey. I’m a wine and food expert, studying sommelier, drinks writer and editor, on-air host and entrepreneur out to change and challenge the world of wine.
What advice can you give in terms of what to look for when buying and drinking eco-friendly and sustainable wines?
Going beyond the bottle and behind the label is increasingly more important as we look to support wine and spirit brands whose philosophy and values match that of our own. Many wine brands are beginning to showcase their “green beliefs” and commitment to sustainability on their labels, websites, social media and in their communications to consumers. An increasing number of wine brands and regions are displaying messaging around being organic, certified sustainable and being vegan on their labels. Take a look at the label on the back of your favourite wine: does it communicate a green message?
What does it mean if a wine is vegan? What does it mean if a wine is “green”? What is the difference between organic and sustainable wine? What does it mean for wine when it’s “sustainably farmed?”
A vegan wine is a wine that uses plant-based fining agents to make the wine clear, this can include using elements of pea protein, asparagus and clay bentonite. Traditional fining agents can include eggs and fish. An organic wine is a wine made without herbicides and/or pesticides used in the vineyard, while a sustainable wine can take on many different angles, not just in the vineyards. Sustainability is also about the needs and interests of society-at-large and takes into consideration a holistic approach with many factors. It is about the economic, environment and social well-being of farm and winery employees as well as a concentration on biodiversity. True sustainability is about supporting local businesses and local communities through job creation and philanthropy. Sustainability is a requirement to keep both the earth and the people on it safe and secure for many years to come—it is a regenerative look at the entire system and all angles in and around the industry—which all affects the final wine in your glass. Sustainable farming includes farming with a regenerative philosophy. This allows the vines and surrounding environmental areas to be fully taken care of to stay fertile for future generations and the longer term. This includes giving back to the land more than what is taken from it (this includes all environmental management – including land,air and water).
Why is learning more about what is behind “green” wine labels an important part in developing our wine style and in your wine journey?
Learning about what wine you are drinking, where it comes from, how it’s made and the people behind it is as important as knowing what food you put in your body and where it comes from, etc. Look for Certified Sustainable seals on your favourite wines from California, Chile, Ontario, New Zealand and more. Learn about the how and the why for each wine in your glass and that you buy and support. Find out how the wines you love give back to charities, environmental causes and support a healthy future in the world. Your wine style is developed based on taste that is true, but real love, admiration and appreciation for doing good in the world should also be a consideration in growing and developing your informed wine journey.
How does one farm sustainably?
Winemakers and viticulturists spend various ways working in the vineyard, the cellar and the winery. Some examples of sustainable practices in the vineyard include: sheep, hawks and owls are used to naturally control weeds and pests; beneficial insects act as natural predators around the vineyards; preservation of local ecosystems and wildlife habitats; soil health is protected through the use of cover crops like mustard and legumes; energy efficiency by night-harvesting; drip irrigation, dry farming, process ponds are used to conserve water; and composting grape pomace (skins and seeds) to minimize waste.
What will be in your glass as you “cheers” on Earth Day this year?
Twisted Cedar Chardonnay – Certified Sustainable under Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing, which was the first sustainable wine program in California. This winery is also Native American owned and is a new wine to come to Ontario. The Twisted Cedar wine brand is wholly owned by the Cedar Band of Paiute Indians, one of five constituent Bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.