Category: Wine

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...

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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...

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Guest Column: The Social Side of Sustainability

When my family founded Jackson Family Wines in 1982, the intent was to build a wine business that would last for hundreds of years. This multigenerational approach means making responsible business decisions for the long-term health and well being of the lands it farms, the people it employs, and the communities where it does business. The company recently created its first Jackson Family Responsibility Report to take this approach further by setting ambitious five-year goals around such issues as water and energy use, waste diversion, greenhouse gas emissions, and social equity. When speaking about sustainability with customers or trade...

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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...

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Going Green: Legalization of marijuana for recreational use brings challenges and opportunities to the alcohol beverage industry.

“Well-balanced, flavorful, and mild.” “Citrus-like, fruity.” “Great with dessert.” These may sound like descriptors from the latest Wine Spectator, but they’re actually excerpts from cannabis reviews, published last September in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. What was once almost unimaginable in the United States has come to pass: Pot has gone mainstream. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize recreational cannabis; Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia followed in 2014. The November 2016 election added California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine to the list. As more states vote to legalize recreational cannabis, the alcohol...

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