Category: Production

Every Last Drop: Wastewater treatment that doesn’t waste water

Today’s alcohol producers are using many methods to reduce pollution caused by wastewater, including cleaning wastewater in different ways and reusing cleaned wastewater in nonproduction capacities. Treating water as a limited resource fosters goodwill with customers and local governments. “Water is an entirely local issue,” says Andy Battjes, director of environmental health and safety at Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman (one of America’s largest beverage companies with more than 25 brands in its portfolio, including Jack Daniel’s, Canadian Mist, and Chambord). “We have to have reliable, clean sources of water for our own use and for the communities in which we...

Read More

Popelouchum: Breeding winegrape magic on California’s central coast

For winegrapes, the challenge of climate change lies principally in drought resistance, disease resistance, and flavor. With his Popelouchum Project, Randall Grahm, winemaker and creative force at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Davenport, Calif., is tackling all three. His plan is to start by planting part of his 280-acre property (outside of San Juan Bautista, Calif.) with some 30 French and Italian grape varieties on drought-resistant rootstock. Over the course of several years’ observation, some will be selected as parents in an audacious attempt to breed 10,000 brand new cultivars. Just a few years into this ambitious project, basic infrastructure...

Read More

Apples to Apples: Creating new cider apple cultivars to confront a changing climate

Farmers are, of necessity, pragmatic people. So while politicians and scientists may still be debating whether or not climate change exists, farmers are dealing with the reality in front of them: record-setting droughts, fruit-killing cold fronts, and generally erratic and unpredictable weather patterns. Some annual crops seem to be fairly tolerant of these challenges and, therefore, more amenable to relocation. But the time and expense involved in planting a vineyard or orchard make the whole idea of pulling up roots and moving on problematic. When it comes to growing perennial crops in a time of climate uncertainty, water (or...

Read More

Make It Right: Patrón Spirits International’s sustainability efforts are helping to improve Mexico’s environment.

A hand-crafted tequila can add something special to any occasion (and we’re not talking about post-consumption dance floor moves—although those are fun, too). Rather, it’s about how a fine tequila can warm the heart and soul. Since its inception almost 30 years ago, Patrón Spirits International has been taking that feeling to the next level. Founded in 1989 by John Paul DeJoria, Patrón has always been at the forefront of practicing and promoting environmental responsibility. At this point, the effects of this dedication have been realized worldwide. At the root of these efforts is how the tequila is made,...

Read More

Inside Wine: The Labor Squeeze

Border wall aside, the U.S. farm labor crisis worsens by the crop, thanks in large part to tightening immigration policy driven by the misplaced fear that foreign workers are taking American jobs, rising minimum wages along with new farmworker overtime laws, a vibrant Mexican economy with plentiful factory jobs, and the burgeoning marijuana industry. These days, fewer and fewer skilled farmworkers choose to work in vineyards—especially if easier, higher paying work is available. “Working in the vineyards is hot, exhausting, difficult work,” says Rolando Herrera, founder/winemaker at Mi Sueño Winery in Napa, Calif. “Laborers will seek out higher paying...

Read More