Province wine columnist James Nevison.
Jason Payne / PNG
James Nevison offers up wines that are worthy of Earth DayEarth Day may have come and gone, but really it’s not something that needs to (or should be) only be celebrated once, in April.More consumers are choosing to “go green” and drink sustainably and/or organically all year long, and while the options are continually expanding, things can still be confusing for the conscientious consumer.With so many designations and certifications out there, how are we to know what makes for the most environmentally-savvy pick? As always, it’s complicated, but here are a few suggestions for sussing out Earth Day worthy bottles. Yealands Estate 2018 Land Made Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($19.99, #882878)A number of countries and wine regions have initiated proprietary sustainability designations. While not certified organic, the intention is that affiliated growers and wineries are following lower impact, more sustainable growing practices. That said, the devil is always in the details, so consumers are urged to do their due diligence. Yealands Sauv Blanc, for example, is part of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Established in 2002, the program ensures members meet international standards for sustainability while building local community. In the glass this translates to a rich and fruity, citrus and tropical fruit imbued white with a balanced finish.Bottom line: B, Crowd and table-friendlyEmiliana Adobe Reserve 2018 Chardonnay, Chile ($14.49, #97527)Of course, sustainability-focused programs do not necessarily equate with complete chemical and pesticide-free growing practices, and if organic is of concern then seeking certification may be in order. But are all organic certifications equal? In the case of Emiliana’s Adobe Reserve range, we find a bevy of labels on the label: Environmental Care, Organic Agriculture, Social Responsibility, Vegan, Non GMO, and — arguably most importantly — Canada Organic. It’s all worth a bit of research, and the tasting study finds this an easy, quite likable Chardonnay with tropical fruit and a softer approach before an easygoing, smooth and lengthy finish. Bottom line: B-, Roast chicken readyBlue Mountain 2017 Gamay Noir, British Columbia ($22.90, available through the winery and select private liquor stores)All this is fine and good, but what about those dedicated wine producers who can’t be bothered with industry designations or formal certifications? Take Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. The Okanagan Falls winery only uses estate-grown grapes that they grow following sustainable-minded practices including cover crops, organic fertilizers, and compost manure. No official “eco” badges to be found, but this lively and juicy, indigenous-fermented Gamay Noir with ample berry and toasty notes sure tastes like it has been loved along its journey. Which highlights another good strategy for drinking green: going right to the source and knowing exactly where your wine comes from.Bottom line: B+, Great local Gamay valueThe Swirl: B.C. CiderWeekThe Northwest Cider Association, in conjunction with local B.C. cider producers, is set to host B.C. CiderWeek from April 26 to May 5. B.C. CiderWeek features a number of events around the province, kicking off with a Cider Social on April 27 at Saanichton’s Sea Cider House, and includes the Okanagan Cider Festival (May 4 in Kelowna) and the B.C. Cider Festival (May 5 in North Vancouver). For complete event details and ticket information head to bcciderweek.com.Contact James: @hadaglass