StateWays - November/December 2016

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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w w 8 Beverage Information Group • Sustainability Guide 2016 Winemaker Spotlight: How Wente Vineyards Brings Sustainability to the Forefront One reason why it's important for retailers to understand the specifics of sustainability is that "sustainable" often means different things to different people. Some suppliers offer products that are greener than others. At Wente Vineyards, sustainable farming practices are at the core of the California company's 3,000 acres of estate vineyards. The family-owned winery was certified for its sustainability related to vineyard, winery and company practices by the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation. "Our basic philosophy is to take great care of the soil and be sure to put back into it what you take out after each harvest," explains Karl Wente, Owner, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Winemaker at Wente. "Healthy soil leads to healthy grape vines, which leads to healthy clusters of fruit, which leads to great wine." Everything that goes into Wente wine products is grown on the family's own land, giving them the highest possible level of control over their farming practices. All water used at the winery is recycled, and the company is responsible in terms of how much it irrigates. Wente recycles as many other byproducts as it can, including glass and plastic. It is also conscious of limiting energy use as much as possible, by utilizing things like skylights and motion-sensor lighting throughout the winery. Wente says the vineyard's sustainability practices are one of company's values that he's most proud of. "The effort we put into being sustainable in all aspects of our business shows our commitment to wanting to do good in this area," he explains. How can retailers effectively showcase Wente wines and other sustainable products to consumers? Wente says it's essential to have a section of your store clearly designated for green products. Also, make sure to offer point-of-sale materials and other educational displays to showcase these distinctive products to consumers. – MN "A lot of times customers will come in having done more research on the products than the sales associates have, but you still need to do as much as you can to make it a smooth decision-making process for them," he says. Hamilton touts health benefits as one of the main reason his customers seek out sustainable products, in addition to their desire to go green. Pointing out the health benefits of organic products is another display method to consider in your store. "People are looking to be healthier, even with their wine. They're looking at sulfates and are in search of products with a lack of sulfates and that are organic," Hamilton states. "We have a few products in our store that have zero sulfates added, and they're supposed to be good for people who get migraines. Most wines that claim to be organic in the United States are organically grown, so sulfates are added as a preservative. For any high quality wine, you want to add as few sulfates as possible. The 'Big Box' boys who favor quantity over quality produce larger batches of wine, and therefore need to add more sulfates as a preservative, which affects the taste." Geniesse agrees. "People are trying to live healthy, sustainable lives, and green wine capitalizes on all of these categories," he says. "The farm-to-table method is important. Some of it is about being good stewards SELLING SUSTAINABILITY "WE DEFINITELY IDENTIFY WINES THAT ARE BIODYNAMIC, ORGANIC OR SUSTAINABLE IN THE WAY THEY ARE FORMED. IT'S VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION." —Tom Geniesse, Bottlerocket owner and founder

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