Sipping Sustainably

 

sipping-sustainably-header

Sustainability, perhaps a buzz word for many, but  more growers, winemakers, and breweries around the world are exploring best-practices to create products with true-expression of their terroir.

MADE  web site “We want to fundamentally change the way people think about buying things”.

Guest Post Sipping Sustainably.  It is a great piece about the reality of the consumption of resources.

Green Breweries and Wineries

Americans consume 9.4 billion gallons of alcoholic beverages a year: 87 percent beer, 8 percent wine, and the rest spirits. The environmental impact of producing, packaging, and selling all those beverages could make an environmentalist reach for a drink. Breweries and wineries consume large quantities of water, raw materials, and other natural resources.But there’s good news: Green beer is no longer something people drink just on Saint Patrick’s Day. With the rise of the craft beer movement and growing consumer interest in local and sustainable food, more breweries and wineries are working to reduce the beverage industry’s environmental footprint. As a result, it’s easier to stock the home bar with sustainable, organic brews.

Moving Toward Sustainability

Sustainability is a buzzword these days, but what does it really mean? Ideally, it indicates a company uses resources in non-depleting ways while fostering the health of the company, workers, planet, and future generations. No beer and wine companies are entirely sustainable—at the moment they all use more resources than they return—but many mitigate environmental damage in several key ways.

sipping-sustainably-001 Slash water use

Beverage companies are particularly reliant on water, one of our most critical natural resources. Conscientious businesses work to be its responsible stewards. According to a 2008 report, viticulturists on California’s North Coast use an average of 75 gallons of water to grow the grapes for just one gallon of wine, and in the state’s drier Central Valley, they use 430 gallons of water per gallon. Turning the grapes into wine uses six more gallons of water. To reduce that footprint, many wineries have installed low-flow nozzles and filtration systems, and reuse gray water from the production process. A minority employ dry farming, which means growing grapes without irrigation, a practice that can save millions of gallons of water a year. A gallon of beer requires five to 10 gallons of water to produce. Craft brewers are leading a movement to reduce that ratio (Oregon’s Full Sail Brewery boasts a 2.5 to 1 ratio) and even the world’s largest brewers, including Anheuser Busch, MillerCoors, and Heineken, are cutting water usage.

Power down

From heating water vats and refrigerating beverages to lighting tasting rooms, the mass production of beverages is energy intensive. Eco-minded companies make their systems more efficient, install solar panels and solar hot water heaters, and utilize technologies such as fuel cells, geothermal heating, and carbon dioxide reclamation.

Manage waste streams

The majority of waste in the brewing process is spent grain. Breweries have a long history of passing spent grain on to farmers to feed cattle, chickens, pigs, and other livestock. Some are coming up with other innovative ways to use leftover grains, including making bread and composting. One brewery developed a biomass steam boiler that allows them to power brewery operations with spent grain. Conscientious vintners recycle pomace—spent grape seeds, pulp, and skins—in the winemaking process, compost it, or sell it to manufacturers of grape fruit oil, cream of tartar, or spirits. Many beer and wine companies have installed on-site wastewater treatment plants and/or reuse cardboard, pallets, and other packaging waste.

Farm sustainably

Beer and wine are agricultural products, so to make a sustainable beverage, the ingredients must be grown in ways that contribute to the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and workers. Unfortunately so far organic beer and wine have constituted a small share of the beverage industry. Brewers cite the expense and shortage of organic hops and barley. And wine consumers have equated organic with low quality. But that seems to be changing. According to a recent study, the organic beer and wine market is expected to grow at a rate of 24.5 percent from 2013 to 2019.

Source local ingredients

Wineries have a long history of growing grapes on site. Now a farm-to-pint movement is making waves in the craft beer industry. From Oregon to New York, local economies are springing up around craft beer with a new crop of farmers at the base. By localizing supply chains, beverage companies cut down on the transport of raw ingredients—a large portion of most companies’ carbon footprint. They can also more easily reuse resources that would leave the facility—including water and packaging—in the production process. For instance, they can use gray water to irrigate fields.

Reduce packaging

It doesn’t get much greener than a reusable jug, so it’s promising The Wall Street Journal called the warm months of 2013 “the summer of the growler.” Sure enough, grocery, drug, and discount stores in many cities now sport growler stations stocked with local craft beer. Wine growlers are cropping up in some states as well. Many breweries and wineries sell beverages in bottles, cans, or boxes for wider distribution. The most sustainable of them use lightweight containers with high-recycled-materials content.

In 2011, University of California Davis opened a state-of-the-art center to research and share the best sustainability practices for breweries and wineries in the above areas. It will eventually house the country’s first self-sustaining winery, which will feature a rainwater collection system and will have a cutting-edge filtration and recirculation system as well as a system to sequester carbon dioxide. According to the university, it will be the most “environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world.” But what does stepping toward sustainability look like for companies already involved in the day-to-day business of beverage making?

It’s always a good idea to choose the least packaging when possible. For beer, kegs or growlers are best, and cans may beat bottles. For wine, boxes are better than bottles, and magnums beat smaller bottles. Don’t forget to recycle those containers. And CEOs say consumer preference drives the trend toward more eco-friendly products, so let beer and wine companies know you’re thirsty for sustainable beverages.

How to Decipher Environmental Claims on a Wine Label

sipping-sustainably-002Read the entire article Sipping Sustainably. If you enjoyed this article on green breweries and wineries, check out these reclaimed wood wine racks for your home — http://www.custommade.com/gallery/custom-wine-racks/

Santé!

Kuei Hua Chen Chiew – Feng Shou – Chinese Happy Wine

Kuei Hua Chen Chiew – Feng Shou – Chinese Happy Wine

Kuei Hua Chen Chiew - Feng Shou - Chinese Happy Wine

Happy Wine – Dessert Wine

A wine lover is not satisfied with drinking the same wine every day, no matter how expensive and precious it is. Variety is the spice of life! I am a wine explorer, I like to sample products that are not main stream and that  I never heard of, and sometimes you can find some unusual, surprising, and enjoyable wines… Kuei Hua Chen Chiew Feng Shou –  Chinese Happy Wine. It is a dessert wine infused with the Osmanthus flowers.  It is made from the indigenous Longyan grape variety grown in the  Zhuolu County in China. It has an interesting light, bright orangy/pinkish colour.  The nose is fragrant with sweet apricot, peach, and a hint of flowery Jasmine from the Osmanthus flowers with some minerally notes. On the palate, it offers a mix of sweet and bitterness mouthfeel, ripe dried apricot flavours with good acidity. It is simple, unique, enjoyable, and fun!  Enjoy it chilled after the end of a nice meal. This wine is well-suited as an apéritif cocktail such as a ‘Happy Spritzer’. Recipe: fill a wine glass halfway with ice cubes, pour 3oz of Happy Wine and top-up with 4oz of soda water, et voilà!

SKU #897397  –  $10.99 + tax – Available at BC Liquor stores and selected private stores.

longyan-grape

Longyan Grape

It is a late ripening variety. Its firm pulps and steady stems mean that berries won’t fall off that easily during storage. Due to this reason, in ancient China, when the storage conditions of fresh fruits were not as satisfactory as today, Longyan was favoured by producers and consumers. Similar to Gewurztraminer, when Longyan grape matures, its skin turns a shade of red. The average weight of each berry is 7 to 8 grams (5 times heavier than that of Cabernet Sauvignon) with a good sugar and acid balance that gives Longyan grape a pleasant taste as a table grape. This variety is widely planted and easy to source, in 1979, China Great Wall Wine (which belongs to COFCO) chose Longyan to produce the very first dry wine in China, the ‘Great Wall Dry White’. The wine was produced in Huailai, Hebei Province, which is an important producing region for the grape. Excerpt  from China Decanter emag. For more information visit ChinaDecanterMag page.

China has emerged on to the global wine scene with unprecedented speed in recent years, both in terms of production and consumption. Currently, it is one of the top 10 wine-producing countries in the world, both in terms of area under vine and of volume produced. It is a good time to explore and discover the wide range of Chinese alcoholic beverages.

Cheers!

Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Wine & Book Pairing

Perfume by Patrick Süskind – The Story Of Murder

perfume book and wine pairing

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift–an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”–the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity. One of my top 10 books that I have read in the last 10 years.

CASTELLO DI GABBIANO DARK KNIGHT,  ITALY

Super Tuscan – A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Sangiovese that will please the most discerning wine lovers. Average price $22.99 + tax

BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE GRENACHE SHIRAZ MOURVEDRE – AUSTRALIA

This wine capture the distinctive elegance, finesse and vibrant fruit flavours of one of the world’s most celebrated wine regions. Welcome to the Barossa Valley. Average price $22.99

MISSION HILL RESERVE LIMITED EDITION VIOGNIERCANADA

Full-bodied, rich with perfumed apricot nectar, ripe peach, quince jam and a voluminous buttery texture. Average price $23.99

Happy reading & swirling!

 

Protea Chenin Blanc

Protea Chenin Blanc – Western Cape – South Africa

protea chenin-blanc - western capeThis is one of the most popular wine from the region. A great quality wine for the price. The Protea Chenin Blanc has a pale lemon colour, and shows aromas of fresh, crisp fruit. On the palate, you’ll find hints of pear, green apple, and honeysuckle. This Chenin Blanc is created in a dry light style to be an accessible  wine for everyday drinking enjoyment.
SKU # 777953
Shelf Price: $14.49 + tax
Available at BC gov’t stores, EverythingWine stores, and selected private wine stores.

Exile – Richard North Patterson

Book & Wine Pairing

book and wineExile from Richard North Patterson

Not your typical lawyer goes to trial novel.
The book in a nutshell: American Jew defends Palestinian Muslim Arab charged with planning the suicide bombing assassination of the Israeli prime minister. The book looks at the many different factions within each side of the Muslim and Jewish worlds and how they interact, or kill each other. Exile tackles a serious topic, the story has twists and turns, and Mr Patterson put forward convincing arguments for both side of the conflict. Human drama with 100 shades of grey. I liked this book but you gonna need a serious wine!

All wines under $30.

Rhone white blend, Moon Curser Afraid Of The Dark, British Columbia   SKU#866152

Merlot, Charles Smith the Velvety Devil, Washington States  SKU#745299

Malbec blend, Clos De Los Siete, Mendoza Argentina  SKU#128710

Pesquera Crianza

 

Wine Of The Month

1088239xPasquera Crianza, Ribera Del Duoro, Spain

In the mid-eighties, few people outside Ribera Del Duero had ever heard of the viña Pesquera wines of Alejandro Fernandez. Enter an American merchant and some influential American wine writers, one of whom compared viña Pesquera to a fine Bordeaux, ‘…and the rest, as they say, is history.’ Today, it has become one of the most prestigious bodegas in Spain, and is appreciated worldwide. Tinto Pesquera crianza is made of Tempranillo grapes. It is a dark ruby-coloured that exhibits fragrant plummy-tobaccoey, violet, cherry, and spice on the nose and palate with excellent concentration and length.
Tempranillo
Spain’s best native red grape is grown widely over the northern and central parts of the country. Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinta del Pais and several other synonyms) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines. Tempranillo is an official variety of the DO of Ribera del Duero. Tempranillo grapes are very low in the enzymes that help to cause oxidation (browning and spoiling of juice) so the grapes are easy to handle at harvest time. The wines also keep well, and are very suitable for ageing in oak barrel.
Price: $32.99 + tax.
Find this wine at BC govt liquor stores, and selected private stores

Neverwhere Book by Neil Gaiman

Drinking Wine While Reading

neverwhere book and winesNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy. Over the years, a number of versions were produced both in the U.S. and the U.K. Now Gaiman’s preferred edition of his classic novel reconciles these works and reinstates a number of scenes cut from the original published books.

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.

Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. The Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Door, a noblewoman whose family has been murdered, is on a quest to find the agent that slaughtered her family and thwart the destruction of this underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life, he must join the journey to save Door’s world—and find a way to survive.

Neverwhere is one of my favourite books, and on my top 100. It is an easy read, page turning with unique characters. This engaging story is a blend of Edward Scissorhand, Beetlejuice, and Princess Bride.

 

 

G.S.M. – The Strapper Yalumba Barossa Valley

Wine Of The Month

g.s.m. the strapper yulumba barossa valley wineG.S.M. The Strapper Yalumba Barossa Valley, 2014, Australia

Barosa Valley

The Barossa Valley was formed by the North Para River and was named by Colonel William Light in 1837. The area of Barossa Valley, often referred to as the valley floor, is approximately 13 km long and 14 km wide and stretches from Williamstown in the south almost to Kapunda and Truro in the north. It averages less than 400 metres above sea level. Within Barossa Valley, there are numerous unofficial sub-regions: from north, south, east and west they include Gomersal, Williamstown, Lyndoch, Rowland Flat, Barossa foothills, Vine Vale, Light Pass, northern Barossa Valley, Greenock, Seppeltsfield and Marananga. The red brown soils in Barossa Valley are more fertile than Eden Valley, rainfall is up to 50% less and temperatures are up to 2 % warmer.

Yalumba Winery

Yalumba is a winery located near the town of Angaston, South Australia in the Barossa Valley wine region. It was founded by a British brewer, Samuel Smith, who emigrated to Australia with his family from Wareham, Dorset in August 1847 aboard the ship ‘China’. Upon arriving in Australia in December, Smith built a small house on the banks of the River Torrens. He lived there less than a year before moving north to Angaston where he purchased a 30-acre (120,000 m2) block of land on the settlement’s south eastern boundary. He named his property “Yalumba” after an indigenous Australian word for “all the land around”. In 1849 Samuel Smith, along with his son Sidney, planted Yalumba’s first vineyards, beginning the Yalumba dynasty. Today Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. (via wikipidia)

Tasting Notes

The GSM Strapper blend is a stalwart of the Barossa. The three red varieties have been planted in the region for nearly 170 years, and in the past were commonly blended to make fortified ‘tawny port’ style wines. After World War II the same blend started to become popular in table wines. ‘Grenache Shiraz Mataro’ is a bit of a mouthful – hence the birth of the colloquial ‘GSM’.Garnet red in colour, this wine leaps from the glass with strawberry compote, potpourri, nutmeg and fennel seed. The palate has juicy raspberry, ironstone and a long savoury line that finishes with talc like tannins.

Seek & Sip!

Shelf price $23.99 +tax SKU# 354050

Available at BC liquor Stores and private stores.

Mariana Herdade Do Rocim, Alentejano Portugal

 

mariana herdade-do-rocim white wineWine Of The Month – Mariana Herdade Do Rocim, Alentejano Portugal

Herdade Do Rocim

Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo region of Portugal. Rocim sits on the Vidigueira fault, a natural landmark which marks the border between the Upper and Lower Alentejo. The East-West facing escarpment of around 50 kilometers in length defines the climate of Vidigueira, and despite its deep-lying southern location, makes it one of the most temperate sub-regions in the Alentejo. This facitlitates the domaine’s goal of showcasing the region´s terroir while producing fresh, elegant, and mineral driven wines.

Click here for the story of the wine’s namesake; 17th century Franciscan nun Mariana Alcoforado.

Tasting Notes

Medium-bodied and lightly aromatic. This lovely white offers hints of flowery notes, citrus, pear, melon whith a smooth mouthfeel finish. Overall easy drinking, uncomplicated style. Perfect for drinking without thinking.

Alentejo Region

As a wine-producing country, one of Portugal’s great strengths is its diversity. The Algarve may be Portugal’s top holiday destination, but for wine lovers, the Alentejo is Portugal’s go-to southerly region. Today, Alentejo is renowned for red blends, which are as warm, generous and easy-drinking. Between 1995 and 2010 the number of producers exploded from 45 to 260. Traditional Portuguese grape varieties dominate the region, but newcomers such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are beginning to make inroads, often blended with the local varieties. Some white wines are made in the Alentejo, but it’s the reds that are forging the region’s reputation. Demand for Alentejo wines, with their ripe fruit and full-bodied character, has been such that vineyard land here is among the most expensive in the whole country. Because many of the estates are fairly large and the climate is so reliable, economies of scale mean that Alentejo wines can combine quality with affordability, which is more of a challenge in Portugal’s more northerly regions.

SKU #388165  –  Shelf Price $19.49 + tax

Available at BC Liquor Stores.