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10 Sustainable, Dry-Farmed Wines

Posted: 06/11/2012 11:15 am

2012-06-04-dryfarmintro.jpegToday I want to take a moment to consider the impact wine making has not just on our lives, but also on the world around us. It can be a very intensive type of farming, with many producers using fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and significant amounts of carbon-based fuels during production, just to name the biggest factors.

One aspect of farming that is often over-looked is the use of water. While we are all in a tizzy when it comes to fossil fuels and chemical additives used in farming, we often forget to examine the use of life's most basic requirement: water.

I'm not going to belabor the point, water is a limited resource that is renewable to a certain extent, but our agricultural system is exploiting this resource faster than our aquifers can be refilled. So what should we do about it? There's a lot we can do, but one thing we can do today, right now, is drink a bottle of wine made from dry farmed grapes. Here are five of my favorites!

Photo courtesy jazz2kde via Flickr/CCs

What Is Dry Farming?
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A few points about dry farming before getting started. If you're interested in reading more on the method check out: Dry Farming. Most vineyards in Europe are dry farmed and in fact are required to be dry farmed by law, though there is often some exception for new plantings which are particularly susceptible to the stress of drought.

It can be argued that dry farmed vines possess a certain balance that their irrigated brethren do not. While I'm not entirely on board with this concept, I will say that old vines that are dry farmed develop root systems that insulate them from many of the vagaries associated with inconsistent rainfall, so they generally produce more successful wines in times of either drought or excessive rainfall.

I understand that not everyone can dry farm, but those that can, particularly when they have other options, should be applauded for it and supported.

Photo courtesy of Jim Bahn via Flicker/CC
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