Sustainable, organic, biodynamic are all topics on everyone’s mind. Whether it is food, clothing, makeup etc., making choices that are environmentally friendly is the way of the future. Winemakers and grape growers are no exception to this movement. They are conscious of the steps they take at every level from farm labor to agriculture, to water quality and energy conversation. The wine industry is looking to make sustainable wines that give back to the land and community on every level.
Many grape growers and wineries practice sustainable and organic farming, though not all are certified. They implement practices that are good for the environment and the community, but today many consumers are looking for a way to identify whether the products they are buying are sustainable, organic or biodynamically made. So winemakers turn to organizations to help them obtain certifications; to help improve their farming practices, as well as help consumers identify their wines as being sustainable.
One organization making a prominent impact in helping wineries farm more sustainably with its rigorous program is SIP Certified. SIP stands for “Sustainability in Practice.” SIP Certified launched its program in 2008 with 3,700 acres of vines. Today, there are 43,600 vineyard acres in California and Michigan.
What makes SIP Certified stand out from other organizations is their commitment not just to the environment but also to the community. One of their key values and parameters for a vineyard certification is the implementation of social responsibility(competitive wages, medical insurance, training, and education) as well as ethical practices(treat employees and community with care and respect).
Consumers can now find a wide array of sustainably produced wines to fit their needs, budgets and stylistic preferences. SIP Certified has rigorous standards that assures consumers that the product in their bottle was made with conscience and care.
The 10 wines below are just a few of my favorites that are SIP Certified. SIP Certified wines are incredible wines that offer much in terms of price, quality and taste, plus you know you are drinking consciously and sustainably. Be sure to look for the SIP Certified logo on the back of the bottle.
Baileyana Firepeak Pinot Noir Edna Valley 2017 (SRP $20)
Aromas of bright cherry, blackberry, rose petal and hints of spice burst from the glass of this bright and nicely balanced Pinot Noir. Flavors of dark fruit, blueberry, mocha and cola flavors along with soft supple tannins create a beautiful finish.
Bishop’s Peak Chardonnay San Luis Obispo 2018 (SRP $24)
Aromas of white peach, bright lemon and orange blossom exude the glass. On the palate there are notes of green apple and lemon zest. The Bishop’s Peak . Chardonnay is crisp and refreshing with lovely acidity and a nice lingering finish that is characteristic of a cool climate Chardonnay.
Castoro Cellars Albarino Paso Robles 2017 (SRP $30)
The 2017 Albarino is from Castoro’s estate vineyards, bringing minerality, acidity, and tropical fruit characteristics. The wine is delicate yet robust with a pale lager yellow hue. Aromas of wet stone, peach, melon, honeydew exude from the glass. On the palate, notes of melon and pineapple explode on the palate.
Chamisal Vineyards Stainless Chardonnay Central Coast 2017 (SRP $18)
This complex wine exhibits classic varietal characteristic with aromas of pineapples, gala apples, pear and lemon, The palate has a weight that belies its unoaked status with a rich entry of fresh citrus that leads into secondary aromas of fig and minerality. Finishing clean and crisp with lingering acidity. The wine is fresh and vivacious.
Fiddlehead Cellars Gruner Veltliner Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta Rita Hills (SRP $30)
In its own delicate way this wine exudes a cornucopia of complex flavors. It is not easy to isolate a single dominant aroma. Fresh notes of granny smith apple, melon, cucumber and ginger are present. The charming finish expresses chalky salinity and characteristic white pepper spice.
Halter Ranch Grenache Blanc Paso Robles 2017 (SRP $34)
This Grenache Blanc has a unique and delicate fruit profile that is elegant and full of minerality. There are aromas of orange blossoms, stone fruit and honey with delicate flavors of honeydew melon, pear and lime.
McIntyre Vineyards Per Ardua Red Blend Kimberly Vineyards Arroyo Seco (SRP $60)
A powerful and intense wine that is aromatic with notes of blackberries black cherries, lavender, and sage. The palate is rich with notes of dark fruit, cassis, licorice and black pepper. The tannins are firm and integrated. Drinking beautifully now but can be put down in the cellar for a few years to come.
Opolo Viognier Paso Robles 2018 (SRP $26)
Grown on Opolo’s estate vineyards, the Viognier expresses concentrated flavors of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, papaya and melon. A delightfully fleshy wine that leads into vibrant green apple and guava finish.
Record Family Wines Viognier Paso Robles 2018 (SRP $25)
This Viognier has perfumed notes that exude from the glass. The wine has notes of succulent white peach, citrus fruit, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and Asian pear on the palate.
ROAR Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2017 (SRP $35)
Citrus and floral aromas open to a rich depth of textures in this Chardonnay. White peach and lemon cream fill the palate, enveloped by woodsy herbs, green tea, and jasmine. These fruit and floral elements continue to blossom, as a thread of graphite emerges to wind through a bright fruit finish.