Sustainably Farmed Wine from Sicily

Where better to get look for natural, organic, biodynamic, or sustainable wines than a health food store like Nature’s Own in Kansas City? That’s where I found Stemmari Nero D’Avola, a Sicilian varietal that was fruity (as in plum) and medium-bodied. It held up well for a few days and cost only $10.

stemmari-sustainable-farming

That green label on the side reads “Sustainable Farming: EMAS Regulations, Estate Bottled.” EMAS refers to a set of European Community regulations, the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. (Europeans like to use the word “scheme” instead of “rule” or “plan.” It sounds diabolical to American ears.)

Stemmari’s website explains what they mean by “sustainable farming” (as far as I know, that term has no legal meaning in the United States; “organic” does). They wish to leave no trace, but that’s next to impossible with a vineyard, so they try to have as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible.

One way they pursue this goal is by creating seven reservoirs for water on the property, which hold the equivalent of 300 liters of water per vine, or enough for 10 emergency uses during drought. In addition, they use drip irrigation (other vineyards may use drip or flood irrigation) and purify waste water before returning it to the reservoirs.

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This is post number 4 in my series, the Love Conversation About Conservation (Loco About Conservation for short), and my first post about wine. The idea behind Loco is that you tell me what you love, and I will tell you how to green it. Mo responded to my Facebook request by saying, simply, “Wine.” In response to an email I sent later, she said she was particularly interested in the effects of climate change on wine. 

Here, I think, I have touched on that interest. If climate change increases drought in wine-growing regions—and most likely it will, but it may also make some areas too wet—then wineries must learn how to grow tasty grapes on less water. Stemmari is conserving and storing water, but Jasper Hill in Australia is “dry farming.” (The link comes via the website of Isabelle Legeron, “That Crazy Frenchwoman” who lives in the UK and is hardcore about “natural wines.”)