Wine can make people think of a lot of different things, especially good food, good friends and good times. Increasingly you can add another good to the list — good environmental stewardship.
Organic wines, which avoid the use of pesticides in grapes and is produced by utilizing sustainable farming practices, is becoming a more frequent presence on Canadian liquor store shelves.
The environmentally conscious consumer does not have to make a sacrifice to drink green wine. According to Hillary Dawson, president of the Wine Council of Ontario, there is no difference in taste or quality between organic and non-organic product.
Although there has been an increase in demand for organic products from consumers, Dawson says the decision to go organic goes much deeper than a business one. “It’s not a need, it’s a want,” Dawson says. “Growing grapes requires a real deep connection to the soil.”
The amount of green product available to the consumer might be even greater than it appears, according to Dawson. Although many producers utilize organic techniques to make their wine, Dawson says that the certification process to be recognized as an organic is “onerous.” As a result, a lot of farmers don’t bother.
“There are a million ways to show that you are sustainable,” Dawson says. “I’m just proud that our producers are doing what they can to practice in ways that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.”
However, one winemaker that has gone through the process of organic certification says that it is important to do so. Bruce Ewert is the proprietor of L’Acadie winery in Nova Scotia. He says that there is only one way that consumers can be sure that they are getting an organic product — look on the label for certification.
“With marketing you can say anything,” Ewert says. “When you put it on the label you know that a third party has been involved. It gives it credibility. “