Fair Trade Wine
Fair Trade wine isn’t just better for the planet: it also ensures stable incomes and safe work environments for wine growers in developing countries.
Just like Fair Trade coffee and chocolate, Fair Trade-certified wine grapes are grown sustainably, without the use of pesticides or genetically modified organisms. Fair Trade vineyards are also required to promote agricultural diversification, avoid the “slash and burn” farming method and conserve water and energy.
Vineyards must also comply with fair labor practices, paying workers fairly and providing a workplace that is free from child labor, forced overtime and harassment.
Currently only wine from estates and small farmer cooperatives in Argentina, Chile and South Africa can receive Fair Trade certification.
Carbon Neutral Wine
From using gas-guzzling farm equipment in the vineyard to shipping wine bottles to customers across the globe, winemaking can have a large carbon footprint.
But now some wineries, concerned about climate change’s effect on the planet and on their industry, are taking steps to become carbon neutral: first, by cleaning up their own operations that release greenhouse gases and then by purchasing carbon credits to offset the emissions they couldn’t avoid.
For example, Parducci Wine Cellars, the first carbon neutral winery in the U.S., upgraded its lighting and machinery to super-efficient models, switched to solar and wind energy sources and started using biodiesel in company vehicles and farm equipment. After reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible, the Mendocino, Calif.-based winery balances the remainder of its emissions by sponsoring local forest conservation and renewable energy projects.
To ensure a winery is living up to its claims of carbon neutrality, you can ask the company directly or peruse its website to determine if it uses a reputable third-party organization to offsets its carbon emissions.