I think we all know that change can be really, really difficult to deal with. On a number of levels, our brains are hard wired to not accept change. After all, do you remember driving to work this morning? I bet not really, after all when you do something almost every day it starts to become second nature to you.
When we start talking about change, the wine industry is incredibly concerned. To start, there are a ton of European wine regions which are based very close to major rivers, which if they crested another 10+ feet, could destroy vineyards which have been around for hundreds of years. If you’re interested in 90 point wines, or even in being a member of a 90 point wine club that’s a real concerning thing isn’t it? Other wine regions have to adjust as well.
I bring that up here, in the guise of the great debate about human nature because I think it brings up an age old question for society. Are we willing to trade any amount of our current happyness in order to allow our children, grandchildren and the societies which we leave behind slightly better off?
The wine industry, perhaps above all others could be the most environmentally friendly in the world. Especially the high end wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma in northern California, parts of the wine industry are completely dependent on their ability to grow fruit at optimium temperatures throughout the year. Of course, if climate change happens in any significant way, that will no longer be possible. A wine of the month club for all 400+ wineries in Napa Valley (yes, they all have one) would be affected on a huge scale, if environmental changes aren’t made. People would flock to other wine regions if the quality of Napa Valley wines went down at all. Of course, winemakers and vineyard owners are fighting to save their local environment, but as we can tell by the debate over new car gas mileage, environmental politics are certainly more national than they are local. For a local wine region, that’s probably one of the scariest thoughts out there.
Wine is generally thought of as one of the more environmentally friendly agriculture businesses. Since it largely relies on dry farming (at least on the high end of the industry) as well as being largely organic and almost completely sustainable overall, it is the apple of many environmentalist’s eye.
For the truly best wine gifts available, it makes sense to truly try and find the environmentally friendly wines which are available. You have to look deeper than simple sustainability though, you need to know the wines and wineries affect on the water table and how they plan to continually manage that resource over the long term.