Words: Shamim de Brún
Artwork: Paul Smith
Everyone loves celebrating and there is more reason to celebrate the end of 2021 than most other years. It brought nothing but rescheduling, rearranging, reassessing and regrettably not an end to the pandemic. Everyone will be glad to see the back of it. Cheers to the closing of this chapter, with bubbles, please. But can you be sustainably sparkly?
What exactly makes a wine sustainable? Sloshing around are terms like “biodynamic,” “organic,” and “natural”; all supposedly great but mostly just confusing. This is partly because sustainable wine is largely unregulated and currently there isn’t a global standard to adhere to.
In essence, sustainable wine producers consider bottling sources and the impact of farming on the surrounding lands with every stage of the winemaking journey accounted for. It’s essentially the same as shopping local. The little guys have more environmentally sustainable practices because they have to invest in their land long term. Their job is only sustainable as long as their winery is.
Here are some quaffable (mostly) affordable and sustainable sparklers for you to pop this New Year’s Eve.
Bortolomiol is a completely sustainable prosecco company. They make numerous proseccos including pink ones. Since the winery’s founding following the Second World War, their focus has been on quality Prosecco. The four women that run the vineyard lay down the path to a sustainable future for Prosecco without forgoing quality.
The juice itself is dry bright and fruity.
With bottles starting at €18.50 it’s available from Mitchell and Son, Avoca, and Cavistons
Aldi’s bubbly is a boisterous crowd pleaser. Hanging on the sweeter side, it’s easy drinking and holds its fizz for longer than you’d expect. Aldi has a rake of sparkers but this more Eco-friendly fizz is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides and the grapes are predominantly handpicked. The winery is also committed to using renewable energy wherever possible.
It comes in at €10.50 and is available in Aldi all across the nation.
This is a budget-busting, all-out, balls-to-the-wall, grower Champagne. Grower Champagne is sparkling wine made in France’s Champagne region that is specifically crafted by families who cultivate the grapes on their own land. Most Champagnes’ are made from grapes grown by one person, bought by another and vinified by someone else. Egly Ouret keep it all in house and are devout environmentalists. The result is a succulent golden fleshy fizz that sparkles like stars in your eyes.
If you are looking to splash out, or you prefer the robust flavour of champagne then this is a cracker of a hatrick.
From €75 at Mitchell and Son, Blackrock Cellars
Winemakers in New Zealand have sustainability and the environment at the forefront of their minds. New Zealand’s wine output is over 90 per cent sustainable, even their bigger productions. This fizz is from a Sustainable Winegrowing NZ certified vineyard and is endlessly poppable. Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc isn’t very common in Ireland but is perfect for those who find Champagne too robust and Prosecco too sweet.
€12.50 at Lidl
This is a wild wild west left field fizz. It hits all the buzz words on the head like it was playing whack-a-mole with them. Organic, biodynamic, natural, sulphur-free, pet nat. The juice is cloudy and full of raunchy orange wine flavours like ripe peaches and jackfruit but it’s cheerfully gluggable at only 10 per cent abv.
From €22 at Mitchell and Son, Green Man Wines
Also on Char: Top Tipples – Buying wine at Christmas