What is sustainable wine?

After a stressful and busy week (or stressful and busy day), there’s nothing better than a crisp glass of white wine or a warming glass of red. Whether it’s a wine night with the roomie or you enjoying a glass alone with your favorite Netflix show, the right wine can turn an average day into an enjoyable one. 


However, part of being a conscientious citizen means knowing where the products you enjoy come from. If you’re someone who’s always trying to reduce their carbon footprint, you might want to consider buying sustainable wine.


But what is sustainable wine, and is it worth purchasing over non-sustainable alternatives? Read on to find out. 


Certified sustainable 

Sustainable wines come from companies that aim to protect the environment and promote social responsibility. They do that by adhering to a strict set of environmental and labor standards. 


For example, sustainable vineyards work to ensure biodiversity and proper soil health. They also implement recycling measures to conserve water, and in some cases, may even use sustainable energy sources, like solar or wind. 


All of that means that buying wine marked with a sustainability certification can help you relax and unwind, but also ensures that you’re doing what you can to be a responsible consumer. 


Sustainable vs. organic 

While conscientious buyers might be attracted to both sustainable and organic wines, remember that the labels mean different things. 


Sustainable vineyards take serious steps to limit their environmental impact, but the wine they produce may still contain additives and sulfites. These aren’t ingredients to be afraid of, as oftentimes, they help ensure a longer shelf life. However, it’s something to keep in mind. 


On the other hand, organic wines are free of everything from synthetic pesticides to sulfites. That said, the vineyards they come from don’t necessarily use the same environmentally-conscious production methods as sustainable vineyards. 


If you want the best of both worlds, look for bottles of wine that are both sustainable and organic! 


Sustainability certifications 

Any vineyard can slap a label on a bottle of wine, which makes it difficult to know whether or not certain certifications are legit. Here are some labels that carry weight and meaning:

  • Certified sustainable 
  • Sustainable in practice (SIP)
  • Napa Green
  • LIVE certified
  • Salmon-Safe

If you buy a bottle of wine that has one of these certifications on it, you can rest assured that it’s more than just a marketing ploy!


The 750 mL truth

While there is a difference between sustainable and non-sustainable wine, keep in mind that even an environmentally-conscious vineyard still has limitations. It still requires large amounts of water, electricity, and land to produce the wine that you enjoy.


It might not seem like a reality you want to accept, but the best way to drink wine sustainably is by cutting back how often you consume it. If you drink it once or twice a week, try only drinking it every other week. 

In addition to helping the environment, you’ll also be helping your body. You might love the taste of wine (and let’s be real, the buzz it leaves in its wake), but in most cases, your body isn’t a fan of it!

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