"Will you be able to sell wine in the next 20 years if you are not organic," Bordeaux producer, Thibault Despagne, was asked by his San Francisco importer.
Despagne, who officially announced the Despagne Family Vineyards bio-fuel and waste management programme at Vinexpo this week, said he has seen an increased interest in environmental issues from both producers and consumers.
....In America, sales of organic wine have risen significantly -- "by 28 per cent in 2005," said Robert Joseph, founder of Greener Planet Wines with his partner Hugh Ryman. "That's 80 million dollars' (60 million euros') worth of wine. Out of a 21-billion-dollar total, that may not seem a lot, but it is growing."
....Greener Planet wines come in recycled glass bottles, carry non-wood paper labels printed with sustainable ink, and sales have, to date, generated 10,000 dollars of funding for a safe drinking water project in India.
....But being committed to organics is not as simple as seems, nor is it necessarily seen as environmentally friendly.
Critics of organic food say that taken to its logical conclusion, it will use too much space on the planet, being less intensively grown. Joseph says this is not a problem for wine since there is already too much. "We don't need more space, we need to produce less, but better quality, from what we have."
There is also the issue of copper - the reason why Despagne will never go organic. "The levels of copper you have to use in organic wines leave damaging traces, not only in the soil but in the wine itself," he said. Despagne believes that in 20 years time there will be a scandal about organic wine and copper.