Courtesy of Bonterra Organic Estates
by Winebounty Team| Aug 03, 2022

Chilean wine group Viña Concha y Toro produces some amazing wines. Concha y Toro, Viña Don Melchor, and Almaviva to name just a few. Sustainability has been a hallmark of their brand and yesterday’s announcement demonstrates that they are literally putting their name where their mouth is.

Fetzer Vineyards, the US Portfolio of Viña Concha y Toro, announced that it will be changing its name to Bonterra Organic Estates, after their Bonterra certified organic brand. According to the U.S. group CEO, Giancarlo Bianchetti, the move was not only to emphasize the consumer shift toward environmentally sensitive products but to take a more public advocacy role for sustainability.

Fetzer has a long history of sustainable farming that predates its acquisition by Viña Concha y Toro in 2011. In 2000, Fetzer earned its first Biodynamic certification for its vineyards and its Hopland winery was certified for organic production in 2010. And in 2020, the winery declared a climate emergency and committed to becoming climate positive by 2030.

Last year, the group achieved the title “Regenerative Organic Certified” for all of its Mendocino County vineyard holdings and winery, a feat not achieved by any US winery even close to the Fetzer size and scale. Regenerative organic agriculture is a collection of practices that focus on regenerating soil health and the full farm ecosystem.

But we shouldn’t be quick to think that the name change to the Big “O” is entirely altruistic. To keep up with the rising costs from inflation and consumer demands, the wine business is having to look to “premiumization,” a move toward a bigger percentage of higher-priced wines in a wine group portfolio and, as Bianchetti notes, Biodynamic single-vineyard wines (which go for $40-$50 a bottle!), are doing well.

Whatever the reason, its a move in the right direction. It takes a village to fight climate change and every step to support sustainability is a step to ensure our continued supply of great wine to drink. And that’s something I’m confident we can all support!

(Confused about the differences between natural, organic, and biodynamic? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Check out this 2020 article we wrote on natural wines to shed some light on the subject. Happy Hunting!)

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