Say cheers to a more sustainable glass of vino

Wine-making can carry a pretty hefty environmental toll—between the use of land and water for irrigation, to the energy-intensive nature of farming and use of chemical additives. However, there are more eco-friendly alternatives and here are four types of wine to look for if you want a guilt-free sip this season.


1. Biodynamic

SummerhillFacebook/Summerhill Pyramid WineryBy nature these wines are organic, but biodynamic farming takes it a step further by adhering to rules set out by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who suggested cultivation based on homeopathic methods and the lunar calendar. While it might sound a little far out, biodynamic fans swear by the quality of these wines. Sustainable production uses natural methods and the phases of the moon to nurture the vineyard and take a more holistic approach to the soil, vines and insects. Although natural methods are used, not all of them are vegan, so be aware of that if you’re following a plant-based diet.
Try: Southbrook Winery, Ontario (also organic); Summerhill Pyramid Winery, B.C. (also organic)


2. Vegan

organic wineThe Grange WineryWhile grapes are definitely vegan-approved, there are some processes (fertilization, clarification and stabilization) that involve animal byproducts, such as guano (bird poop) for fertilizing the ground, and egg whites or milk protein for clarification. Sometimes gelatin, isinglass (fish bladders) or chitin (crustacean shells) are also used during that process. Canada’s VegeCert, a non-profit organization that certifies vegan and vegetarian food product, has started to work with wineries, with Ontario’s Karlo Estates being the world’s first certified vegan winery.
Try: The Grange Winery, PEI; Karlo Estates Winery, Ontario


3. Sustainable/eco-friendly

Tinhorn CreekFacebook/Tinhorn CreekLook for wines from eco-friendly wineries who have adopted sustainable viticulture practices or have chosen LEED buildings to lessen environmental impact. While these wineries might not be organic or vegan, they are taking steps to reduce waste, be carbon neutral, and use natural pesticides and other more eco-friendly processes.
Try: Tinhorn Creek, B.C.; Tawse Winery, Ontario (also organic and biodynamic)


4. Organic

L'Acadie VineyardsL'Acadie VineyardsRegulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), a product can be certified organic if it has 70 percent or more organic ingredients (for example, grown without the use of pesticides, sustainable practices, etc). Only products with 95 percent or more organic ingredients can use the Canada Organic logo on their packaging. "Natural" wine is wine that’s made without the use of chemicals and additives, but it currently has no official certification in Canada.
Try: L’Acadie Vineyards, Nova Scotia; Okanagan Crush Pad, B.C. (Free Form, Narrative, Haywire)