Vineyards at Sokol Blosser, located in the Dundee Hills District AVA. (Photo by George Rose/Getty … [+]
There is research proving that consumers do care about the social impact of their purchases, but how do wineries share their commitments and efforts in space as small as a wine label? This spot is often crowded with required text, creative iconography, tasting notes, details about the vineyard, and everything else that can fit into that tiny rectangle.
One way that wineries can tout their background is by earning certifications. These often come with the use of a stamp that will indicate that the bottle was made under promised conditions. One of the most dynamic commitments is that of becoming a B Corporation (or B Corp).
“Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” according to the organization’s website. There are over 4,000 of these companies in 77 countries around the world.
Certified B Corps are individually quantified by a score from B Lab’s B Impact Assessment (BIA) which must be recertified every three years, earning a verified score of 80 points to retain B Corporation status.
Wineries that choose to become a B Corp are often built on a commitment to use low impact farming methods and resource management. They are dedicated to fair and responsible treatment of the workforce, community, and natural surroundings. Here is a sample of B Corporation wineries, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. To check out more of these organizations, visit the searchable B Corporation directory.
This summer Sokol Blosser, an organic, family-run winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was awarded 2021 Best for The World: Environment. This is the third time the winery has earned this achievement.
In a press release Alison Sokol Blosser, chief executive officer, commented, “From our start 50 years ago, we have worked to do the right thing every day for the environment, our team, our community and the long-term health of our family business. These are habits for us now. We are extremely proud of this recognition.” Sokol Blosser is surrounded by peers in Oregon, with the largest network of B Corps in the United States.
Across the world in southern France, Château Maris is the first European vineyard to obtain B Corporation certification. Founder Robert Eden began the transformation of his estate in Minervois La Livinière AOC, located between Toulouse and Montpellier, in the 1990s, starting with a conversion to biodynamics.
Eden chose to build the winery with hemp bricks, which suppress heat. The hemp was cultivated near Toulouse, and is grown without chemicals or irrigation. Château Maris also received Best for The World: Environment in 2017 and 2018.
Symington Family Estates, one of the most established Port and wine producers based in northern Portugal has been in business for five generations. It became a B Corporation in 2019 in order to “systematically improve the impact we have on the environment and our communities over the coming years.”
Key points for the organization are responsible governance, a thriving workforce, community impact, biodiversity protection, climate change adaptation, CO2 reduction, water efficiency, low impact buildings, sustainable packaging, and waste management. Symington holds the largest area of organic vineyards in northern Portugal.
From the the Puget Sound AVA in Washington state, Bainbridge Vineyards produces 1,200 cases from its certified organic estate vineyards each year. The winery has earned 2021 Best for The World: Environment. It is located on 15 organic acres on Bainbridge Island, part of a 40 acre protected property that is cultivated by a collective of local farmers. The vineyard is a Certified Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to rich biodiversity.
At this woman-led, cooperative organization, proprietor Betsey Wittick fills the vigneronne role of both grower and vintner. “To honor this rare privilege, we believe in a ‘whole systems’ approach,” says Wittick. “From our draft horse and human powered field work, to the individuals we employ and the communities around us, our wine is a true reflection of the land and people who steward it.”
Fetzer is a wine industry leader, a B Corporation since 2015. As one of the most accessible and outspoken B Corp wineries, many consumers have experienced an introduction to the category from Fetzer. The winery works with other B Corporations such as Divine Chocolate for food pairings and Heart Creative for social media support.
As a member of B Corp Climate Collective, Fetzer recently made a commitment to be Net Zero by 2030 through a reduction in greenhouse emissions, an increase in carbon drawdown, and a commitment to renewable energy and regenerative agriculture. This is in addition to the winery’s dedication to environment, community, workers, and governance that is already in place.
I’m focused on wine and food creators–with culture, community, ecology, and travel pivotal to the stories. I am a Provence Wine Master through the Wine Scholar Guild and
I’m focused on wine and food creators–with culture, community, ecology, and travel pivotal to the stories. I am a Provence Wine Master through the Wine Scholar Guild and received a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. I’m the founder and author of L’Occasion, a blog that honors the ways we drink, make, and contemplate wine. L’Occasion was awarded the Best Overall and Best Writing from the prestigious Wine Media Awards and was a finalist for Millesima’s Blog Awards in food and wine pairing. I’m a wine country travel expert panelist and contributor for USA TODAY’s 10Best. My work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Decanter, Relais & Châteaux Instants Magazine, SevenFifty Daily, France-Amérique, Palate Press, Luxe Provence, Courrier International, Provence WineZine, and Perfectly Provence.