I am in pain. But then again I am a big wimp. The last two week have seen an amazing increase in sloth, me/RJ obviously. So today I go to my morning jiu jitsu class and gassed out after about forty five minutes. Normally I'd blast through an hour of class and another half hour of sparring. Not today.
One of my favorite things about hard things is that they make you humble. Now don't think I had my buttocks handed to me, I'm not that terrible. It's just that it is truly hard to gauge any improvement in this sport because the gains are accumulative and take some time to appreciate. Plus you're sore as you would be if an elephant sat on top of you, which is very similar to jiu jitsu.
So as I feebly walk into the shop my wife tells me about a message and something about an interview. It's Outside magazine which I actually read because I would love to be more of an outdoorsman but realizing that it actually takes time to hunt, find an appropriate mentor to teach me, I have to settle for stories about people that actually do. Look into Outside magazine's online article on us that discusses sustainable, organic & biodynamic wine.
That is certainly enough of crying about how my body aches and cool interviews, it's now time to get to the next wine question I'm going to answer from 2018's Master of Wine theory portion. The question is, "How important are environmental credentials in marketing wine?"
In today's market where grocery stores are surely in the lead with Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprouts, Lakewinds and various other co-ops with foods that take environmental standards to the forefront. The United States has that USDA Organic circle which is helpful and a plethora of others like Salmon Safe and LIVE certifications.
Salmon Safe wines are located on hills that end in a river that salmon swim in. It does the salmon little good if you spray poisonous chemicals on your hill vineyard and the runoff goes right into the lakes. Many wineries in Oregon, Washington, Northern California and British Columbia.
LIVE certification is another third party certification that have checklists that you can see online detailing vineyard and winery checklists. They also have a Green and Yellow list compiling the allowable practices in dealing with pests. The states in the US that utilize LIVE certification are Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
The thing about the USDA Organic sign is that this circular sign so recognizable to Americans means nothing to the French, nothing to Australian winemakers, etc. Each country will have their own parameters, rules and regulations regarding winemaking and their environmental certification.
One type of certification known as Biodynamic certification. Now I know that this is a really amazing way to grow grapes and make wine but when I first heard of it I scoffed like nobody's business. Growing up in the middle of Illinois gives one a definite appreciation for farms. So much so that my first job was detasseling corn, which is good way to realize farming is not as easy as it looks.
"This is a bunch of voo doo, if you ask me.", I remember saying when I first heard of biodynamic practices. But when it was explained to me then I got it. Think of organic practices, no synthetic pesticides, herbicides and the like. You add this to the farmer's almanac.
Have you ever been to the ocean? The moon, depending on if it's waxing, waning will exert enough gravity to pull the waters to high tide. This is been shown in water droplets as well, which could account for the sometimes bizarre behavior in people during full moon.
Moon position is important and especially so in the spring and fall when one is planting and harvesting their grapes. In the spring you want the greatest pull on the water so young vines and old vines can get water and nutrients with the smallest amount of energy spent possible. And in the fall with the same idea, this is known as the Harvest moon.
There are many other specifics dealing with biodynamic wine but one of the best things is that a body that follows biodynamic practices offers a Demeter certification known globally and has the same standards. Which makes it easy to buy biodynamic wine in Adelaide, New York or Excelsior, Minnesota.
These specific environmental credentials are important because certain people look for organic food and wine is certainly food. The steady growth of grocery stores mentioned earlier show that people want and are willing to search out environmentally conscious wine. For example at our wine shop Wine Republic, we feature only sustainable, organic and biodynamic wine.
Who buys these types of wine? The same people that shop at Whole Foods. Same people that eat from Trader Joes or look only at the "Health Food" section in conventional markets. A lot of Crossfitters and athletes of all stripes and sports constantly search out for the cleanest food they can and when they shop for food they look at labels. Therefore it is a positive thing to announce one's environmental certifications.