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Most Sustainability Aspect in the Wine Industry

Well, Monsanto made me go ballistic, when years ago I first learned that their chemicals not only killed destructive insects in soil, but it didn’t discriminate regarding the good insects, either. I know we can’t have sustainable soils without certain insects working it. Chemicals that killed good bugs and good bugs and worms in the soil equals just plain old poisonous soils. When we consume those products…People who spread poisons have to wear special gear, but still… It’s on their clothes, in their hair, on their skin, if  not wearing those white suits, meant to protect, but how much do they. Yeah, I think you get the point. So, here we are. The most curious among us now know that sustainability in soils is a fragile and necessary commodity. It caused an entire movement within the wine industry, and I say, “Thank God, not a moment too soon.”

[Photo credit, oxbeast1210, Other images in this blog post were taken by Jo Diaz. All rights reserved for all photos.]

There’s one aspect yet to be completely tapped, though… The sustainability of human lives…I just congratulated Deborah Parker Wong on Facebook, because she’s one of the creators of the Slow Wine Guides, and was included in a story by Esther Mobley. Esther is the wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, and just wrote an article, “How to tell if a wine was farmed with Roundup.” In her article, she referenced Slow Wine Guide USA. Deborah wrote: “A toast to Esther Mobley! Thank you for your endorsement of the #slowwineguideusa, which is the combined work of so many people who care deeply about land stewardship and have found a way to do their part to help wine consumers make informed choices – SLOW WINE, which Deborah Parker Walker is a coauthor. This all took me one step farther down the road, and I believe to be the most important key to the entire wine making process. What I wrote to them is what I’m now going to share with you. I simply said, “What a GREAT idea! Congratulations to all!

Ellen Scott Landis responded to me:

Jo Diaz I am a contributing writer for this book; it’s a great resource! Everyone should take time to learn about wineries focused on sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming, which is a benefit for us all now, and for future generations ahead!

Ellen’s a dear friend. She’s a cherished member of fellow wine judges and the wine reviewing community.

Ellen, I’m now working on one of THE most important aspects of sustainability, and I’m betting it’s not included in this book, yet. It’s primarily an oversight… I’m sure!

Wine workers! Ron Rubin (Ron Rubin Winery) has a program called TRAINED FOR “SAVING LIVES.” He’s giving away 450 Automated External Defibrillators to California wineries. He joined forces with the American Red Cross and ZOLL (manufacturers of the defibrillators). Ron gives the wineries the AED’s fr FREE, and the wineries pay the Red Cross ($450 for up to six people being trained). The trainer goes to the wineries to learn CPR, and how to safely use the AED’s. Of the 450, there are now only 152 left.

Why is he doing this, besides pure generosity? His life was saved by an AED, and he believes in sustainability so much, he understands that nothing else happens for sustainability without having people in the process. (I never thought of that, until I was working with Ron.) Right now, there are only about 5 wine companies with a B Corp registration… Really difficult sustainability certificate to get. He’s an industry leader, who also owns The Republic of Tea, BTW. He’s a mover and a shaker. You might want to know him. I can introduce you, if you’d like. He’s extremely personable.

Then I thought, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m diminishing any of this process, by bringing in the sustainability of vineyards becoming pristine,” so I followed up this this.

And, this aspect of human beings brought up is not meant to diminish in any way the importance of this body of work. This is an important GIANT step forward in sustainability. I remember learning that Monsanto was a poison and was actually poisoning soils, just to eliminate bugs in our soils… both the bad AND good bugs. I went ballistic on Facebook about it regardless of eyes rolling at me.


Then I saw lots more people being vociferous. Next, Sustainability became an issue for our soils. And look where we’ve come! It’s awesome.

It wasn’t until I began working with Ron Rubin, and his giving away 450 AED’s, it occurred to me that he’s also sustaining the lives of farm workers, tasting room people, and visitors to tasting rooms that this is also a sustainability issue that’s quite a primary one. Without workers, there are no wineries that can sustain themselves.

This is the evolution of my own thought processes. What really hit home for me is seeing, in my own neighborhood, the vineyard workers laboring (sweating) so hard, then sitting in the hot sun and dirt to eat their lunches. I mentioned it on Facebook and one of my winemaker friends responded, and I’m betting that he reached out to the farm, because in not time they rolled in tables with benches for them. (Mucho Mejor!) So happy you’re part of this book. Thanks to you all for the #slowwineguideusa!

While in France, stone structures are what I saw in vineyard. Knowing this is what made me irate about how American vineyard workers are treated. This stone structure is for workers, when they need shelter. I believe every vineyard needs such a structure. On Tour with Charles Duboeuf Winery, this is what we saw that day, and I was darned happy to enter from the 90 degree weather. It’s for saving the health and possibly the lives of people in their vineyards, and something the French are very good at, with no applause necessary. They’re just more evolved in their thinking than America is. They’ve been farming since the Romans invaded. The California wine industry is relatively young, noted as starting when Padre Juniper Serra came into San Diego in 1769.