The Fall 2021 Grocery Outlet Wine Sale runs for a week starting from Wednesday, November 3, 2021. All wines are discounted an extra 20% (off the already low prices) from Nov 3-9, 2021. In this post, I’ll take a look at some possible wine purchases, with an eye on sustainability. Actually, the wine that I’m going to focus on is from France – Gérard Bertrand’s Les Aspres (2016). Now you may think: you’re focusing on sustainability and you’re picking an imported French wine?! Here are some quick thoughts on that topic:
Sustainable wine: imported versus local?
Well, if you’ve come across the book about carbon footprint of our stuff, How Bad are Bananas?, you’ll learn that bananas are actually pretty good, in terms of sustainability, even though they are shipped from afar (unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere tropical). The carbon cost of transporting items by ship without refrigeration – like bananas, or wine – usually constitutes a small portion of a product’s overall carbon footprint. Other factors are often more important…
I mentioned in my last post on water conservation for wine growing (viticulture), several of Europe’s best wine growing regions don’t allow irrigation and must depend on natural rainfall. So even though Californian wines are closer to me, European wines may generally rank better for water conservation. More specifically to my wine pick, Gérard Bertrand is well known as a sustainability leader in the wine industry.
I still do mostly buy local wines, especially those that conserve water and use sustainable farming practices, but I also now support sustainable overseas wineries. So let’s get to the wine!
Gérard Bertrand, Grand Terroir – Les Aspres, 2016
There are multiple reasons why I figured I would like this wine:
- GSM blends (grenache, syrah, mourvedre) rank as my favorite wines, whether from the Rhône, Paso Robles, or in this case, Languedoc.
- I’ve had Gérard Bertrand wines before – his Tautavel blend was one of my favorite Grocery Outlet finds.
- 2016 was generally a good year for wine in France, including Languedoc.
- The wine gets a score of 3.8 on Vivino – I prefer to buy wines that score above 3.7 on Vivino.
- The 2011 and 2014 vintages of Les Aspres scored 91 points on Wine Enthusiast.
The wine sells for $6.99 at the Grocery Outlet, compared to a normal price of around $20. During the wine sale on November 3-10, the wine will be an extra 20% off, so it’ll be around $5.50 per bottle.
Gérard Bertrand – sustainability in winemaking
As you can see from the video below, Gérard Bertrand is committed to biodynamic viticulture. The grapes in all 13 of the estates that he manages in Languedoc are biodynamically grown or in the process of conversion. Roughly half of Bertrand’s wines are presently produced from organic or biodynamic-grown fruit, with a goal of reaching 80% by 2025.
If you have time, here’s a longer video that introduces the wine of Gérard Bertrand and beautiful landscapes of Languedoc. A recent testament to sustainability at Gérard Bertrand’s vineyards is the award of the Green Emblem to the winemaker by Robert Parker.
Robert Parker’s Green Emblem
Robert Parker, esteemed wine critic, recently launched a new wine sustainability certification program called the Green Emblem. Here’s a little more info on the program:
To qualify for this award, a winery may or may not already be organic and/or biodynamic certified. Beyond or apart from certification, the producer needs to be an outstanding proponent of sustainability in every sense of this term, including community efforts toward long-term environmental health, biodiversity and/or efforts toward improving the larger social issue impacts of wine production.
Therefore, Robert Parker Green Emblem wineries are those that extend their efforts far beyond the requirements for organic and biodynamic certification. They are true ambassadors for sustainability, leading the charge to make our industry and our planet a better place for current and future generations.
So far, just 24 wineries around the globe have been awarded the Green Emblem and Gérard Bertrand is one of them.
Bertrand’s focus on the land even extends beyond just the vines, as he has created a foundation to preserve and promote biodiversity. A walk through his vineyards includes numerous buffer strips between plots, where native scrub vegetation and insects—especially bees—abound. It’s a holistic approach that recognizes humankind’s responsibility to the planet and future generations.
Picks for the Grocery Outlet’s Fall 2021 wine sale
So don’t forget that the wine sale runs from Nov 3-9, 2021, and all wines are discounted a further 20%. Obviously my top pick is the Gérard Bertrand wine featured above, but I’ll add a few more to that list:
- Gérard Bertrand, Grand Terroir – Les Aspres, 2016 (Around $5.50 during the sale)
- Sebastopol Hills – Pinot Noir, 2019 (Ditto)
- Kenneth Volk, Pomar Junction Vineyard – Blaufränkisch, 2014 (Around $4.80 during the sale)
Enjoy your wine shopping and, until next time, stay safe : )