Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Remembering that yes, we live on this Earth

Today is Earth Day, the day where we all consider changing the way we live in order to better preserve the Earth.

There is really no question that most people, myself included, do not really change their lifestyles to help the earth. Sure we might contribute money to a “save-the-planet” organization or bring out own bag to the grocery store, but eventually we will forget to bring that bag again and when the non-profit comes back to us for more money we may decide not to contribute.

So today I am going to announce that for the next month I am going to write at least one post a week reviewing and honoring those that make the extra effort to produce wine that do not talk about being green once a year but instead live it every day. The wineries I am going to write about grow their grapes in a way that leaves the least negative impact on the Earth. Often they will have their wines certified as organic or biodynamic. However, if a winery does not wish to go through the costly process of certification, I will not hold it against them.

The details of what makes a wine organic somewhat elude me, as the laws are very different in each country. I know that there are very strict U.S. laws in terms of wines being labeled organic. I think the bureaucratic process might take several years, a rain dance, repeated offerings to the labeling gods, a roll of duct tape (because really, what can you not do with duct tape?) and a lot of luck.

Biodynamic agriculture takes organics to the next level. Biodynamic agriculture is defined on wikipedia as:

“Biodynamic agriculture, a method of organic farming that has its basis in a spiritual world-view (anthroposophy, first propounded by Rudolf Steiner), treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Regarded by some proponents as the first modern ecological farming system, biodynamic farming includes organic agriculture's emphasis on manures and composts and exclusion of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.”

A fuller definition of both organic (and labeling laws) and biodynamic can be found here.

Every biodynamic winemaker that I have met approaches the practice a more of a religion than a practice. These winemakers are so passionate about their belief that biodynamic is the best that you cannot help but appreciate their fervor. I am not convinced that one must only harvest on certain days and should only plant when the moon is at a particular point in the sky, but I think there is no question that the attention to detail shown by these winemakers are what really makes these wines truly special.

Which brings me to the Cooper Mountain Vineyards in Oregon, a state with one of the highest standards of naturalism in the U.S. Dr Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, established this winery in 1987 with plantings of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The vineyards were certified organic in 1995 by Oregon Tilth (the state’s certifying body) and certified biodynamic in 1999 by Demeter, the worldwide biodynamic certifying organization.

One thing I would like to mention is that Cooper Mountain has a great website. It is extremely helpful, especially to bloggers such as myself looking for information.

I was sent a bottle of the Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris 20th Anniversary Reserve 2007 to taste. I found it very refreshing, with lovely floral notes and lemon zest. Really, the perfect wine for spring and a great way to enter Earth Day.
Copyright 2009 Wine Post: Wine & Spirits Blog. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan