More Environmentally Friendly

Friday, November 27, 2020

Continuing on from last week’s “Clean & Green” theme, it can be said that in many aspects the Australian wine industry is ahead of the American wine industry – this includes experimenting with emerging varieties. However, there is one area where the Yanks are ahead.

To the best of my knowledge we do not have anything like the California Green Medal Awards (“Leader Award”, “Environment Award”, “Community Award” and “Business Award”). A yearly event that recognises the leadership of wineries and vineyards which are committed to sustainability. It goes far beyond just recognising the use of Organic and Biodynamic farming techniques, to include self-reliance on resources like water and electricity as well as less tangible items such as community involvement and service.

The “2015 Leader Award” winner, Fetzer Wines, even has a full-time role within its organisation for a “Director of Sustainability and Regenerative Development”.

This years “2020 Business Award” winner, Pisoni Family Vineyards, has developed an insectary garden from 1.5 acres of vineyard which was removed from producing grapes and now is full of native plants which between them bloom all year-round to create a habitat for insects and bees. They also have an apiary which is in the process of becoming its own commercial venture. The company is also involved on an ongoing basis in raising funds for Breast Cancer, for which they have raised over $100,000 since the program began.

The Clif Family Winery (winner of the “2020 Community Award”) not only has a range of artisan foods produced mainly from items grown on their premises, but also closes for one day a year so that the staff can do community service on that day. Last year the staff contributed 950 hours of community service, almost double that of 2018, mainly due to staff members coming back and doing further service above and beyond their one Clif Family Winery day.

Another recipient, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines (winner of the “2020 Leaders Award”) was awarded for their all-round approach to environmentally aware winemaking, starting with their over 50% reduction in the amount of water used. This also included sharing their research data with the local industry, being early adopters of the use of grey (re-cycled) water, the use of a bio-reactor to recycle waste water, the installation of solar power generation and their support for a large number of local charitable organizations.

It would be great to have some form of “Green” recognition within our wine industry so that consumers could be aware of the people and companies leading the charge for sustainable and responsible winemaking.

Well to close off today, here are two maps that help to put Australia into a more global context.

Have a great week, stay safe and enjoy some great wines – preferably Australian ones! Cheers!

This Week's Wine Review:

As you may already know, I have been a huge fan of DURIF since I first tasted the Morris of Rutherglen Durif back in the late 1980s. I have tasted many if not most of the DURIF produced here in Australia and have written three articles on the variety so far.

I know that I am a DURIF fanatic, but I find it hard to comprehend that many, many Australian wine drinkers have not heard of, or tried this fabulous, big, rich, red wine. It is not like it is a newcomer to our wine scene, Morris of Rutherglen released the first varietal DURIF in Australia (and probably the world) in 1954, so it has been around for much, much longer than most of the emerging varieties.

Anyhow, recently I raved about the Gapsted 2019 King Valley Durif as being the most “ready-to-drink” DURIF I had ever encountered. Well now I have discovered another contender for that tittle.  It is the CALABRIA RICHLAND 2019 RIVERINA DURIF. For many years CALABRIA FAMILY WINES have been making a cracking DURIF under their Three Bridges label. Not quite as deep and dense as most of those from Rutherglen the Three Bridges has always been a fairly big and powerful wine that none the less requires less cellaring than other Rutherglenites.

Now they have just launched an uber consumer friendly DURIF under their RICHLAND label.  The CALABRIA RICHLAND 2019 RIVERINA DURIF has a deep, inky, brooding colour, it has rich aromas of plum, blackberries with a hint of Christmas pudding or fruit cake on the bouquet. The palate is gorgeous, smooth and rich with lashings of flavour and a tight, slightly grippy finish. This wine is superb with rich food, or double decant it if you want to enjoy it without food. Either way, it is raring to go and an ever so approachable for a DURIF. What a cracking wine!!!

Have a great week and enjoy some really great Australian emerging variety wines. Cheers!

Winery Link: