At the very beginning of April, salamanders emerged from their earthen burrows to migrate to their vernal pools; American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds and Phoebes have returned to their northern homes; Coltsfoot and Snow Drops brought color and life to a brown backdrop, followed by hepatica and crocus. Meanwhile, daffodils have pushed up from their winter dormancy; the red promise of future leaves identifies the red maples; even Mud season 2022 is mostly behind us. Spring has arrived in southern Vermont.
This awakening reminds us that we are part of a larger fabric of the natural world. That awareness may also provoke some reflection on how our behavior affects that broader tapestry. In the US, we have been acutely aware of magnified climate swings in the past few years. We know that the wine industries in California, Oregon and Washington have been battered by protracted drought and extensive wildfires with their accompanying shrouds of smoke and ash. Hotter summers, warmer winters, spring frosts, pounding hail, flooding and fires have dramatically impacted wine-growing globally.
In this month of renewal, we are featuring wines made by producers who are actively pursuing practices to reduce negative environmental consequences of growing grapes and making wine and are committed to leaving their world better than they found it.
In our virtual tastings with various winemakers, we have heard these values expressed sincerely and with deep conviction. Bàrbara Mesquida Mora, for instance, who lost 50% of her 2020 crop to mildew from a particularly rainy vintage, nonetheless continues to work biodynamically, contending that “we must be with nature, not fighting nature everyday.” Those of us who participated in a virtual tasting with her cannot forget how simply and humbly she expressed her mission: “I must try to grow soil. I must try to grow the biodiversity. I am part of a long chain. I don’t know if she [her daughter] will try to make wine or not, but I must leave the soils under better conditions than when I found them.”
Windham Wines remains committed to searching out wines that we believe have value to you. We know that our customer-friends express gratitude for this beautiful spot we inhabit. We offer the recommendations below as wines that enable you to be mindful as consumers. In an email to Eric Asimov, Adrian Bridge, the chief executive of Taylor Fladgate, wrote that consumers are key to encouraging more producers to pursue practices that are in the long term interest of the planet’s health. Bridge wrote that “[c]hanging our own behavior matters, and asking others to change theirs as well. This does mean buying from companies that are doing a good job and avoiding companies that are not.” We have some good options for you below.