Brian Carter Cellars and Sustainability
We at Brian Carter Cellars believe in making and selling wine in the most earth friendly way. Sometimes this means making wine by hand using humans instead of machines. That is why 100% of the grapes we use are hand harvested. Once delivered to the winery the grapes are hand sorted before fermentation. All of the red fermentations use hand punch downs in small fermenters instead of pump overs in large tanks.
Sometimes it means minimal intervention during winemaking such as using native fermentations instead of inoculated yeast. We also believe in using oak barrels not added oak extracts. While we do use sulfur dioxide in order to avoid oxidation and microbial spoilage, we monitor the levels carefully never adding more than is necessary.
This type of minimal intervention is also used by my growers in the form of Integrated Pest Management or IPM. IPM means carefully monitoring pests or disease and only using pesticides when really necessary to preserve the crop. The growers I work with realize that when you spray pesticides it not only kills the undesirable pests but often kills their predators and the predators of other potential pests as well. Once you apply pesticides there is often an explosion of bad bugs down the road that leads to more and more pesticide use. My growers realize that the vineyard is an ecosystem that, when well maintained, works with minimal intervention. Using IPM means being out in the vineyard more, paying attention to what is happening and mostly doing nothing else. This results in a healthy balanced vineyard.
Brian Carter Cellars believes in sustainability both in the winery and in the vineyard. I believe that the best earth friendly programs are under the ‘sustainability’ moniker because sustainability takes into account all aspects of the environment including the health of the vines, the other organisms living in and near the vineyard, the air, the water, the people and even the business itself. Unless you pay attention to all of these, any of them can bring the process of growing, making, and selling great wine to a halt.
Unfortunately, while programs exist in other states, up to now there has not been a sustainable certification program here in Washington. I am, in fact, on the Sustainability Committee of the Washington State Foundation, a charitable organization supporting the industry through many ways, including scholarships. One of our long-term missions has been promoting the sustainability of the industry. The Sustainability Committee was formed to help bring a Certified Sustainability program to our state. The good news is due to hard work of many industry members we are almost there! In fact, in 2021 the first vineyards in the state will be entering the pilot program and by 2022 we should have grapes harvested that are fully certified. Brian Carter Cellars is committed to having all of its vineyard sources certified in the next 5 years. This will be a game changer. Expect to see our labels with a “Washington State Certified Sustainable” emblem prominently displayed in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, enjoy Brian Carter Cellars wines knowing we are doing our part to keep the planet safe and of course, the wines delicious.