An environmentalist's wine drinking dilemma


As we sampled local wines in Temecula, I noticed several wineries now offering organically and bio-dynamically grown wines.

I love wine. I enjoy dark beer, tart lemonade and cold tap water. But I love wine. Especially if it’s red and spicy with hints of berry.

Unfortunately, most of my favorites (Argentinean Malbec, Australian Shiraz and, as of last night, a nice little Petite Syrah from France’s Rhône region) have pretty huge carbon footprints. They may also “benefit” from the latest in chemical pesticides, herbicides and other miracles of modern viticulture. It’s hard to tell.

What’s a girl to do?

I can’t stand to give up all of my favorites, all the time, so I’ve instituted a 50/50 rule. Since I live in California, there’s really no shortage of local and regional varietals. And the local markets and bottle shops usually have a section of organic and bio-dynamic wines. (I used to think that bio-dynamic meant low-water and have since discovered that it’s a little more, shall we say, holistic than that. I’m all for low-impact agriculture, though, even if that means counting the phases of the sun and moon.)

Local growers seem to be rising to the challenge, too. A couple weeks ago, I went wine tasting in Temecula and saw at least two vineyards growing organically and one bio-dynamically. Evidently several others are organic in practice, but not actually certified. I’m planning a trip back next month to check them out. Eventually, my hope is to find enough good wines to go 90/10. I’m keeping 10 percent for that Malbec, but let me know if you have a recommendation.