What’s in the Wine: A Study of Sustainability in the Wine Industry

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Gordon Geballe
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Alternative agriculture has become increasingly prominent over the past several decades. Certifications regulating labels such as organic have helped consumers make conscious purchasing decisions; farms in a variety of regions and climates have worked to reestablish local food culture and pride. There is an increased attention towards sustainability in food—people want to know where their ingredients are from and how they were produced. However, the same has not held true in the world of beverages, particularly in wine. In the following pages, I explore what sustainability looks like in the wine industry. I outline the industry’s environmental impacts and certifications that denote sustainability, and discuss how consumers have responded to organic, biodynamic, and regionally protected wines. In a study of the wine industry in the greater New Haven area, I explore what sustainability looks like in the eyes of winegrowers, winemakers, sommeliers, and wine sellers. I end by synthesizing the two sections of my research: I propose how the industry can become more sustainable in the years to come and highlight the barriers that may inhibit actors from doing so.