The Botanical Research Institute of Texas has announced the winners of its 2018 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition.
Alexander Valley Vineyards of Healdsburg, California received the platinum medal for its wine’s taste, as well as the vineyard’s ongoing sustainable programs that tackle the three elements of sustainability: environmental, economic and social, a news release stated.
The award will be presented to AVV on Wednesday, April 11, during BRIT’s Vine to Table dinner and auction fundraising event in Fort Worth.
“We are honored to receive the BRIT award and the recognition of the practices we have implemented over the decades” Harry Wetzel said in the release. “As a family run operation, we all believe that it is our responsibility to make this an even better place for future generations.”
According to the release, other sustainable initiatives at AVV include:
— Solar arrays, which supply about half of the winery’s power
— Cover crop plantings, which minimize pesticide use and control erosion
— Drip irrigation, which allows for precise water management
— 25,000 square feet of underground, naturally cooled caves, which reduce the winery’s carbon footprint
— and installation of variable speed drives on all winery equipment, which decreases energy waste
The awarded wine was AVV’s, 2014 Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, using certified organic grapes.
“Alexander Valley Vineyards’ strong list of sustainable programs and care in winemaking produced an unbeatable application,” Ed Schneider, BRIT’s president and director, said in the release. “During the taste portion of the competition, our judges especially noted that the 100% organic varietal was perfectly balanced with fruit and spice to the taste and a testament to the Wetzel’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and family farming.”
AVV bottled its first wine produced from organic certified grapes in 2008, and today the family organically farms over 30 acres and offers two wines from 100 percent California Certified Organic Farmers grapes.
The release also detailed the recipients of additional BRIT sustainable awards:
— E. & J. Gallo Winery, Modesto, California. Submitted 2015 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.
The release detailed that Gallo Winery received special recognition for its corporate-wide, multi-brand sustainability programs, as well as the organization’s industry leadership.
— Bodega Catena Zapata, Mendoza, Argentina. Submitted 2014 Catena Malbec.
— Franciscan Estates, St. Helena, California. Submitted 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.
— Peach Creek Vineyards, College Station, Texas. Submitted Sassy Lassy, semi-sweet Texas table wine made with Noble grapes.
As a nonprofit, international plant research and knowledge sharing organization, BRIT offers this one-of-a-kind international award with the goal of raising interest and awareness “of the value plants bring to our lives and the need for biodiversity,” the release stated.
Wineries submitted applications detailing their sustainable programs relating to grape growing and wine production along with their wine samples in May 2017 for consideration for a 2018 BRIT International Sustainable Winegrowing Award.
BRIT’s 2019 sustainable winegrowing competition will begin May 1. The competition’s Call for Entries and the 2019 application are posted on the BRIT website at www.BRIT.org/wineaward. The submission deadline is Sept. 1.