Wine Wednesdays: Fetzer and the whole organic thing

20130829-164205.jpgFetzer was my introduction to the world of Gewürztraminer, long before I came to the Okanagan or discovered Alsace. Believe it or not, it’s so widely distributed, I could get it for the price of $11 a bottle in our little Albertan town of 4000.

Fast forward, er, many years… And I still think its a great winery. Maybe one day I’ll visit!

I bought this bottle of Fetzer Gewürztraminer in the US for $7… A heck of a deal. It’s a pale yellow colour with refreshing aromas of the tropics (papaya and that typical lychee,) some grassiness, and some light floral notes as well. It’s medium sweet, but has a good acidity to hold it up. Medium body, and great approachability. It even has some of that typical oiliness of Alsace, which went so well with my fish.

The thing with this wine is that almost anyone will enjoy it, but even a wine snob won’t turn their nose up at it. It’s really balanced well and is a nice simple wine. Should all affordable wines be this good!

Now, since I started drinking Fetzer, they’ve changed their marketing dramatically. Now their slogan is “the Good Earth Wine.” They’ve had quite sustainable practices for a long time, including farming organically, being wind powered, etc.

So what’s the deal with is whole organic or biodynamic wine thing? Des it make better wine? Is it really necessary? Is it just a gimmick?

For those of you that don’t know, my day job is as a business professor, and I specialize in sustainable business. It may surprise you to hear this, but in my opinion, NO, organic farming doesn’t make better wine. I’ve had too many unfortunately examples of bad wine, farmed organically and conventionally. It doesn’t make a big difference, and their are so many other factors that go into making good or great wine.

But that’s not to say that organic and sustainable winemaking is not important. It’s so important. Think of the impact any farm makes on the natural environment, with soil erosion, water use, etc. if you can lower the water intake by planting groundcover and not eradicate insects and birds from the vineyard… Well, that has value to me. That’s the point of organic farming, after all. It’s not about us. It’s about the rest of the beings on is planet.

Now, as for the gimmick part, I have some professorly advice. Read the details. It’s the only way to know if a company meets your criteria for sustainable, responsible or green. I’ve read the details on Fetzer, and I think they are one of the sustainability pioneers in their industry that continues to improve their practices.

S my rating on this wine is an 8… With bonus points for sustainability!

I had my first glass of this bottle flying solo with Jason and the kids away. A glass of wine at lunch (instead of supper) is one of those small pleasures introduced by the French to the rest of the world. I made green cilantro curry sablefish, creamed carrots, a radicchio salad and some fresh tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

Wine Wednesdays… Ok – I admit upfront that I love wine. I also have been expanding my own wine knowledge, completing my Advanced level of the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) course in 2013. So what better way (other than in person, over a glass of wine) to share my love of with you, than to have a series dedicated to favourite wines? Cheers!

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