Saturday, February 07, 2015

Fish Friendly (wine) Farming.

Last week I noticed a couple of new signs in the neighbourhood, (I think they are in two different vineyards).  The first time I spotted them, as I whizzed by on my way to TWWIAGE, I saw the drawing of the fish. The next day I saw the word friendly.  Fish-friendly wine?  A Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps?  There isn't a creek on either of these vineyards, but they each do climb a little up a gentle slope, so I was intrigued by the brightly coloured signs.  On my day off I decided to stop and have a better look and do a little research.
The Fish Friendly Farming programme is run by the California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI).  The CLSI is a non-profit organisation that works with farmers and landowners to design and implement environmental projects that will help reduce the amount of fine sediment entering the waterways of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  The CLSI believes that the declining population of coho and chinook salmon and steelhead trout in California is an indication of the overall health of the ecosystem.  The CLSI's blurb says that they are; "Encouraging practices that protect the endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout. Because premium food and wine comes from a pristine environment." Well now, I love good food and good wine so I feel that this programme is something I could get behind: good stewardship of the land is after all the responsible thing to do.
I don't know how much it costs to be certified 'fish friendly' (it probably isn't cheap) and one has to be re-certified every 5 years and one has to buy the metal signs.  Still it may all be worth it if rivers, streams and the fish in them benefit from farmers who perform Best Management Practices.  But - and there is always a but for me - I'm afraid that being certified fish friendly for some winegrowers and wineries would just be another marketing tool to sell more wine. Consumers nowadays are bombarded with green-labeled products and a lot of those products don't stand up to what they claim to be. Greenwashing is the term that has been coined to describe the use of misleading marketing about the purported environmental benefits of certain consumer goods.  And I'm pretty sure that wine, as just another consumer product, isn't immune to such deceptive practices.
Caveat emptor!


New Hampshire Wineman said...

I just whizzed through this most ferreted-out ploy at merchandizing by the on loan 'Shirlylock Holmes and am left solely with the impression of another interesting photo.
Early in my wine-tastings I discovered that 'certified organic' was not the way to pick a good wine, though there are some (a few really good ones too).
Still, an interesting read with another page toward that book I see in the future ;-)

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Shirlylock Holmes...I like it :)