Green Wines

In this year's SAVEUR 100, we take stock of our favorite things: recipes, people, places. We consider every last one a new classic.

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Grapes farmed industrially, with pesticides, herbicides, and heavy irrigation, bring about industrial-size ecological problems. These are some of the reasons why a growing number of winemakers are turning to environmentally mindful practices and going through certification processes so that wine lovers like me are able to seek out and identify "green wines." They include bottles made from grapes that are farmed sustainably or organically, as well as those produced biodynamically—that is, according to a method that views the vineyard as a biodiverse and self-sufficient whole, where insects are taken care of by natural predators, not pesticides, and organic waste, not chemical fertilizer, enriches the soil. But that's only part of the picture. For fans of green wines, there's self-interest at work, too. For centuries, winemakers have espoused this dictum: Suffering vines create the greatest fruit. Industrial agriculture simply makes life too easy for modern grape vines, causing them to produce insipid, characterless fruit. Green wines are the ones with concentrated flavors, tasting uniquely of the land from which they came.