Local Wineries, Terroir and a Lower Carbon Footprint

local wines - eco-friendly taste of the land

In addition to being eco-friendly, local wines are enhanced by the unique characteristics of the local terrior.

Each of the United States has at least one local winery—even Montana and Wyoming. Most have many more; New York and Washington have over one hundred and California more than a thousand. By patronizing your local wineries, you lower the carbon footprint of your passion and support the local economy. At the same time, you can develop a closer connection to nearby land, and get a taste of what the French call terroir, approximated as “tier wah” in phonetic English.

By exploring wines produced within your local terroir, you step up participation in the green “eat local” movement to include a “drink local” ideal as well. 

Local Terroir and a Sense of Where You Are

Geography and geology are perhaps the primary constituent characteristics of terroir, but the concept of terroir ultimately proves more elusive. It includes a more spiritual component as well—a connection to the spirit of place.

Over the years, pockets of traditions and agricultural techniques develop peculiar to a given region. Meteorological and soil conditions vary from place to place. So does the taste of ground and rain water. To a lesser extent, perhaps the personality of the residents of a region, and their tastes, influence the wines made in a given terroir. A Merlot grape at a New York crush may not be just like the same varietal at a crush in Washington. The same varieties from different regions will show nuances you may not find elsewhere.

Boutique farms and wineries are clearly sensitive to such issues; in fact, they often cultivate, knowingly or not, the concept of terroir and showcase it via their marketing, to give consumers a reason to buy their wines rather than the most recent bottling from Massive Amalgamated Vineyards, Inc. or that “special reserve” from grapes grown in Appellation Northern Hemisphere.

Then again, it’s not only the boutique wineries that cultivate terroir; in fact, the entire Appellation system, from the ancient Greeks through France and now well established in California, is rooted in the notion of terroir.

Drink Local

Many of us enjoy supporting local farmers when we see their produce at our favorite supermarket, and we go out of our way to frequent local farmer’s markets. Vineyard owners near you are farmers, too.

Even if you’re not a committed locovore, pour local wine for a meal made with local produce, and you experience your own terroir to the fullest. You sustain your region’s history.

Not only do you become more familiar with the taste of your territory, you reduce the consumption of fossil fuels with every glass you drink from a local winery rather than from a vineyard half a world away. Drinking wine made from the fruit of a local vineyard is one of the tastiest ways to lower your carbon footprint we can imagine.

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