As wine consumers, many of us may have only begun to think about sustainability in the vineyard and the winery. Wine grape growers and winemakers have had sustainability on their minds for some time and those in the Lodi wine region have been in the forefront of establishing a certified sustainability program. LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s original sustainable certification program and Earth Day is the perfect time to acknowledge that effort. It is also the perfect time to enjoy a glass of LODI RULES-certified wine. We received this delightful sip as a tasting sample.
The idea for LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing evolved shortly after area wine grape farmers established the Lodi Winegrape Commission in 1991. It was a natural extension of the group’s desire to improve their knowledge and farming methods along with their desire to leave healthy land for the next generation of farmers. It began informally in 1992 with education about how to use fewer pesticides in the vineyard and implement integrated pest management. Over ten years of input from viticulturists, growers and environmentalists the program was formalized. LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing was established in 2005.
An important component of LODI RULES is the third-party certification, which means certification is verified by an independent organization not by the individual farmer. More than 100 sustainable practices are included in LODI RULES that encompass Business Management, Human Resources, Ecosystem, Soil, Water and Pest Management.
What began as a local Lodi initiative has now spread across California and to Israel with more than 1000 vineyards certified. Certification seals have been developed for Lodi, California and beyond. You will find them on wines made using grapes sourced from a LODI RULES-certified vineyard. Be sure to look for it.
2019 Klinker Brick Winery Grenache Blanc, Lodi — pale yellow in the glass with generous aromas of ripe peach, nectarine and pear along with a floral component and citrus. Flavors follow the aromas with peach and nectarine, citrus blossom, gravely minerality and lingering citrus pith on the finish. The acidity is bright and juicy, which leaves me salivating and wanting another sip. 13.4% abv. SRP $15
Perfumed aromas were evident the moment I twisted off the screw cap on this wine. It is unbelievably aromatic. The flavors are just as complex as the aromas and finish with excellent acidity. It should be a summertime staple and will pair beautifully with salads, roasted chicken or fish tacos. Heck, all you really need is a wine glass to enjoy this wine.
Klinker Brick Winery was established in 2000 by Steve and Lori Felten, fifth-generation grape growers in Lodi. The lineup of wines at Klinker Brick is diverse and includes several Zinfandels, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Dolcetto and Petite Sirah. Winemaker, Joseph Smith, was just featured in the May 2020 issue of Wine Enthusiast for his dedication to Petite Sirah.
While Klinker Brick may be known for big, concentrated red wines, they also make a range of Rosé and white wines that includes Albariño and Grenache Blanc along with sparkling Albariño and Rosé.
I hope Earth Day will inspire you to look for LODI RULES certified sustainable wines today and everyday. And, if you already look for sustainability seals on the wines you buy, then good for you! For the sake of the environment and those working in the vineyards, certified sustainability (with a measurable decrease in the use of herbicides and pesticides) really should be the baseline expectation of grape growers and wineries. Then, we maybe we can work on getting rid of those extra-heavy wine bottles and wax capsules.
The theme for Earth Day 2020, the 50th celebration, is climate action. Certified sustainability measures certainly fit with that theme. Happy Earth Day.