The latest findings from the Natural Marketing Institute's Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) Consumer Trends Database have revealed interesting figures. The results show that 34 percent of consumers across wine segments consider environmental as well as sustainable attributes when choosing their wine, while 66 percent said they look deeply into the labels for eco-friendly and sustainable practices information.

This is a clear indication that — apart from taste and brands — the environmentally and socially responsible qualities of wine-making have become important criteria for this fast-growing consumer market. As more and more consumers state their support for socially responsible products, the wine industry has to come up with more sustainable practices in order to garner more market share.

Man has plundered nature for generations and now he has finally realized how important it is to conserve the bounties that feed our very existence. But thankfully we see sincere efforts to conserve our environment in every aspect of life and across industries.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the wine industry has been affected by this wave of consciousness as well. In fact, there seems to be an even deeper focus here because wine-growing practices can have direct impact on the soil and environment that they are in.

Sustainable practices go a long way in protecting the soil, air and water as well as improving the quality of grapes and wines. Making environmentally and socially responsible practices an integral part of the process will ensure good health and a healthy bottom line for years to come.

A quick look at the benefits of enhancing and maintaining ecosystem integrity:

  • improved wine quality
  • improved market value of the wines
  • long-term viability of land
  • enhanced real estate value
  • conservation of natural resources
  • better health and longevity of the winery, owners and owner families, employees as well as neighbors
  • enhanced market share and better customer relations

These developments have led to the formation of sustainable wine-growing programs across the industry, promoted by the industry stalwarts as well as the government. Growers and vintners can now fall back on the latest information as well as advanced technologies to improve on their sustainable practices and see a steady increase in sales and profit.

There are now state, federal and industry-sponsored reports on adoption of sustainable practices and tracking ongoing progress. These have helped wineries identify their own strengths and weaknesses and come up with opportunities for improvement.

Increasing awareness is showing a definite intellectual and practical shift from organic winegrowing to biodynamic and sustainable practices. These methods feature balanced soil tillage and little or no reliance on chemicals, which means the vines are free from sprays and applications.

There is an all-round focus on ensuring optimum efforts in the entire wine-growing process to sustain the environment. A leading name in the same efforts has the Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), who have announced that all wines from Sonoma County, California, will be 100 percent sustainable for consumers by 2019.