Hug a Tree in 2017: Six Estates to Embrace Your Inner Environmentalist

Posted January 04, 2017

Stacy Brody


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Like any form of agriculture, viticulture (i.e. grapegrowing) has impacts on the surrounding environment. From vineyard to wine store shelf, wine has an environmental footprint. Wineries worldwide are working towards sustainability, from reducing the weight of their glass bottles to following biodynamic philosophy in the vineyard.

Lighten your environmental footprint with amazing wines from these great estates. 


1. Bernhard Ott in Austria
Bernhard Ott focuses his efforts on crafting some of the world’s best Gruner Veltliner. If you love Sauvignon Blanc or Dry Riesling, Gruner is a grape you’ve got to try. Bernhard took control of his family’s vineyards in 1995. The Ott Family has been making wine since 1889. Bernhard cultivates his vineyards and crafts his wine according to biodynamic philosophy and the vineyards are certified biodynamic by RESPEKT. 

His 2015 offerings excel in quality:

The Fass 4 is made from grapes grown on 4 different sites. 

Very clear and precise in its attractive white-fruit aromas and also pretty deep and gently spicy on the nose, this is a lean but mineral and lovely juicy Veltliner with a precise and elegant, salty and stimulating finish.

~  Stephan Reinhardt - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The Am Berg offers more fruit-forward flavors 

Friendly, crisp, fresh Conference pear flavors pervade nose and palate for a hit of crisp, green, refreshing fruitiness.

  Stephan Reinhardt - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

What’s special about biodynamics? While I won’t go through the ins and outs of biodynamic philosophies - there are a lot of details - I will offer this adage: A farmer's footprints in the field are the best fertilizer. Biodynamic farmers are vigilant ones. Bernhard is always out among his vines, looking for the first signs of stress and taking care to build the soil and the health of the entire system.


2. Salcheto in Tuscany, Italy
Beautiful Tuscany. Salcheto wants to protect the gorgeous environment surrounding its estate. Sustainability is at the core of their business and shows in everything they do, from the wines to the labels to the bottles themselves. The bottles are lightweight, reducing the environmental impact of shipping these wines here to New Jersey and from New Jersey to wherever you may be. They continue to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and overall footprint, earning Sustainable Winery of the Year from an Italian wine magazine in 2014.

Their wines are true expressions of sangiovese from Montepulciano. They use modern technology to produce gorgeous wines, and, with the help of that technology, minimize the use of sulfites and non-native yeasts.

2013 Salcheto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano

Their label may appear simple but says it all. There is a tree with roots shaped like a hand. That's what it comes down to: maintaining a connection to the earth, working the land while also giving back to it.


3. Chateau Maris, France
The wines of Chateau Maris are perennial favorites among the wine team. They offer amazing quality. Relatively inexpensive but with impressive structure, they are great bottles to stock away in your cellar and watch evolve… impressive for wines $25 and less. 

Maris takes sustainability to the next level. They are certifiably certified: organic and biodynamic. Like Salcheto, they use lighter-weight bottles. The winery itself is even made of hemp. These guys are as diehard “green” as your granola-making neighbor.

The La Touge 2014 is 70-30 Syrah Grenache blend aged in concrete, unfined and only lightly filtered. The winemaker describes the wine, 

Spicy dark fruits, ground pepper, wild herbs, and hints of olive to go with a medium bodied, rich palate feel. 

The Les Planels 2013 is a 80-15-5 Syrah-Grenache-Carignan blend aged in barrel and concrete. The winemaker describes this selection as having "Aromas of black currant, prune and red fruits."

Both selections are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, so invite the neighbor over and exchange some wine for granola!


4. Kruger Rumpf, Germany
First, we have to admit that we are uber-psyched about the 2015 Rieslings coming from Germany. The Kruger Rumpf estate has released a killer kabinett. They are currently transitioning some of their land to organic production. Above and beyond that, the Rumpf family encourages the health of the entire system by maintaining beehives and also keeping goats, an effective, if rowdy, form of weed control.


5. Bodega Chacra, Argentina
Far down south in Argentina’s Patagonia region, they are making some phenomenal Pinot Noir. Bodega Chacra is a rapidly rising estate from this "new" region. The estate was founded in 2004, but the vineyards were planted in the 1930s and 1950s. These old vines yield elegant, concentrated Pinot Noirs.

Bodega Chacra practices organic and biodynamic farming methods. The arid climate of Patagonia prevents the development of significant levels of disease and is thus conducive to the practice of these sustainable viticultural methods. 

6. Pio Del Ramo, Spain
Pio Del Ramo produces a hearty red wine perfectly suited for chilly winter nights and fiery barbecues alike. Their Monastrell, made from certified organic grapes, is full-throttle red wine for the most serious wine lovers (and the not-so-serious ones, too).


Who knew going green could be so easy and delicious?
Want another way to go green in 2017? Reduce wine waste!

Product Label.

Chateau Maris Les Planels

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750 mL

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Bernhard Ott Am Berg Gruner...

90 Wine Enthusiast

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750 mL

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$17.98 per btl

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Bernhard Ott Fass 4 Gruner...

91 David Schildknecht - Vinou...

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750 mL

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$25.98 per btl

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Product Label.

Salcheto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano

92 Antonio Galloni - Vinous

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750 mL

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$19.95 per btl

Product Label.

Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Cincuenta...

95 Luis Gutierrez - Robert Pa...

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750 mL

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