Today marks Earth Day, an annual event demonstrating support for environmental protection. Earth Day started in 1970 when Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, organized a national demonstration to raise environmental awareness. This started a movement that led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
If you want to know more about Earth Day, click here to read more about EarthDay.org, an organization that works with more than 150,000 partners in 192 countries to drive change.
Clearly, the wine industry has an impact on the environment through the land, water, energy, and logistics of the supply chain. Sustainability, organic and natural have become buzzwords from many wineries – but as you dig into the particulars, it becomes a bit confusing. It’s a bit like “pinkwashing,” a term associated with companies that use the pink ribbon or use the support of breast cancer charities as a marketing tactic, to promote a product, which can contain ingredients, that are linked to the disease or are used in a manner that associates it with the increased risk of disease.
And even wineries that take the care to practice and become certified, can’t agree on the terms globally. But there are wineries that are truly taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. These steps include using sustainable farming practices, cultivating land, insects, and animals, conserving water, and using renewable energy sources.
Troon Vineyard is a Biodynamic® Certified regenerative organic farm in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. The overall goal is to heal the earth and it was the second winery in the world to earn the second Regenerative Organic Certified® Winery, and one of four farms in the world to be Regenerative Organic Gold Certified®. They are the only farm of any kind in Oregon that is Demeter certified, the only certifier of biodynamic farms and products in America, and it is Regenerative Organic Certified. Founded in 2018, the Regenerative Organic Certification is a certification that has three pillars — soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Things like treating workers well, in an industry not commonly known for doing this, are commendable. I had the chance to write about their journey two years ago and they continue to live their mission.
Troon took its example from Tablas Creek the first winery to start this particular movement. Tablas Creek is a decades-long friendship between the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, a long-time importer and founder of Vineyard Brands. I had the chance to visit and write about them in 2016 (it was a conference, so keep scrolling through the article, the story is fascinating).
I happened to have three bottles from Troon Vineyards to try. The wines continue a journey of discovery of the magic that can happen in a vineyard over time.
2021 Troon Vineyards Druid’s Fluid White Blend – this vintage was the first to be produced from estate Southern French varieties — Vermentino, Marsanne, and Roussanne. The aromatics are intoxicating and the notes of white flowers, citrus, and lemongrass are delightful.
2021 Troon Winery’s Druid’s Fluid Red Blend – this is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan and has the last of the winery’s Tempranillo, which has been replaced along with the winery’s older vines and replaced with new plantings of Southern French varietals. I really enjoyed this ready-to-drink and well-priced wine (all wines featured are $25). It’s notes of cherry, raspberry, herbs, cigar, and steeped tea.
2022 Troon Vineyard Piquette! is crafted more like a pét nat than a traditional Piquette, a type of natural wine, where farmers would add water to the remaining juice and skins to make wine for themselves and their workers. This blend features varieties were Mourvèdre, Vermentino, Cinsault, Tannat, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Négrette. So, you have more flavor than in traditional Piquette wines. This is also the first ROC Gold Certified wine with the logo on the label.
Clearly, there are many ways to observe Earth Day and environmental awareness. We all want a better world for generations to come. But deciding to buy directly from a boutique winery making a difference is a conscious decision.