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Wine column: Drink these eco-conscious wines to celebrate Earth Day

Yes, you can sip sensational wines and somewhat save the world -- all at the same time.

With Earth Day approaching on Monday it's time to suss out Okanagan wines that not only taste good, but are easy on the environment.

That means sips that are organic, biodynamic, sustainable, holistic, regenerative or farmed with minimal invasion.

As eco-friendly wines become more widely available, it begs the question: Do they actually taste better?

Well, yes, they do.

Healthy viticulture with little or no chemical pesticides and herbicides results in pure and exceptional grapes that when made into wine means fresh, vibrant and pristine aromas and flavours.

<who>Photo credit: Blasted Church Vineyards</who>Evan Saunders is the winemaker at Blasted Church Vineyards in Okanagan Falls.

"Earth Day is a wonderful reminder for us to look closely at how we work and how we can be better in the vineyard and in the cellar," said Evan Saunders, winemaker at Blasted Church Vineyards in Okanagan Falls.

"We are at a time where we all need to be working sustainably. Ideally, with an added focus on regeneration and leaving our land in a better state than when we started. Recent extreme weather events have shown that we are at a tipping point and we need to be doing everything we can to slow these changes to preserve the land for the next generation."

For instance, the Blasted Church 2021 Mourvedre Syrah Grenache ($40) is not only delicious, but the grapes were farmed sustainably, holistically and regeneratively.

Post-winemaking, organic waste such as stems, leaves and skins are composted and reintroduced into the vineyards as fertilizer.

See the sustainable vineyards for yourself at Blasted Church's 7 Deadly Sins party on June 22, 6 to 9 pm.

The summer soiree features live music, carnival games, roving circus acts and aerial performers and, of course, food by winery chef John Burke and lots of Blasted Church wines.

You can even wear a sin-themed costume, if you dare.

Tickets are $99 at https://blastedchurch.com/product/7-deadly-sins-party-2024/.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>The Earth Day line up, from left, Tenute Arnaces Brut Prosecco ($24), Solvero 2023 Pinot Gris ($25), Solvero 2023 Rose ($25), Road 13 Honest John's 2021 Bold Red ($24), Garnet Valley ranch 2016 traditional Method Sparkling ($50), Garnet Valley Ranch 2021 Pinot Noir ($45), Free Form 2020 Riesling ($35) and Blasted Church 2021 Mourvedre Syrah Grenache ($40).

Grapes are also farmed sustainably and with minimal interference at Solvero Wines in Summerland in vineyards that promote biodiversity (lots of different plants, insects and animals that are good for the land and air).

The winery's motto of: Truth in product, Truth in nature, Truth in Science. Truth in Soil, is evident in every bottle -- including the classic strawberries-and-cream Solvero 2023 Rose ($25) and the quintessential pear-and-mineral Solvero 2023 Pinot Gris ($25).

The 2023 vintages won't be available until next month unless you join the wine club for early access at https://solverowines.ca/.

Otherwise, the 2022 vintages are available on the same website.

You can also get a look at Solvero's biodiverse vineyards by indulging in its Winemaker's Dinner May 25 at the winery at 25205 Wildhorse Rd.

Of course, winemaker Alison Moyes will be there pairing wines to canapes, prosciutto and peach salad, yogurt charred pork loin and strawberry dome dessert prepared by chef Terry Port of Elite Chef Events.

Tickets are $125 at the same website as above.

<who>Photo credit: Solvero Wines</who>Chef Terry Port, left, and Solvero winemaker and general manager Alison Moyes.

Garnet Valley Ranch Winery is also in Summerland and part of the Okanagan Crush Pad group that also includes Free Form, Haywire and Narrative wineries.

The winery group was the first Canadian member of the International Wineries for Climate Action and began organic farming in 2011.

The group prides itself on making "pure wines, free of additions or manipulations" and it shows in the lush Free Form 2020 Riesling ($35), the bright Garnet Valley Ranch 2021 Pinot Noir ($45) and the complex bubbles of the Garnet Valley Ranch 2016 Traditional Method Sparkling ($50).

Speaking of bubbles, let's take a quick trip to Italy's Veneto region where the most famous, true Proseccos are crafted and the Campagnola Arnaces Brut ($24) is made.

The grapes for this sparkler are farmed organically and results in a Prosecco that's snappy and light-bodied with exotic aromas and flavours of apricot, mandarin orange and ginger.

About 20% of BC's 12,681 acres of wine grapes are certified organic -- one of the highest ratios in the world where the average for vineyards is around 4%.

A big part of the province's success is all of the vineyards of the Iconic Wineries of British Columbia being certified organic.

The group includes all the Okanagan wineries owned by beverage magnate Anthony vol Mandl -- Mission Hill in West Kelowna, CedarCreek and Martin's Lane in Kelowna, Liquidity in Okanagan Falls and Road 13, CheckMate and Red Barn in Oliver.

The pristine fruit shines through, even in Road 13's entry-level Honest John's 2021 Bold Red ($24), which is smooth with a plum and vanilla profile.

Happy Earth Day and happy quaffing!

Steve MacNaull is a NowMedia Group reporter, Okanagan wine lover and Canadian Wine Scholar. Reach him at [email protected].



Send your comments, news tips, typos, letter to the editor, photos and videos to [email protected].




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