Drink for Good: Buying Wine for Social Impact

Sometimes it feels like we’re all going somewhere in a handbasket, and very fast. Bad things are happening all over the world, and some of them are really tragic. It’s enough to drive you to drink.

But what if you could actually do some good by drinking wine? What if by buying a bottle or two, you could contribute, even just a little, to alleviating some suffering, helping recover from a disaster, or supporting people that definitely need your support?

Of course, buying wine is no substitute for simply giving money to organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, World Central Kitchen, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, or other NGOs that provide the most immediate and desperately needed help when the sh*t really hits the fan.

But once you’ve done that, and you want to keep helping by buying wine, here’s where you should look, listed in no particular order of priority.

Itata and Maule, Chile (Fires)

Old vines in Itata, Chile

I visited the Itata and Maule wine regions a couple of years ago, and was incredibly impressed at the wealth of old vine Cinsault, Pais, Grenache, and other varieties that are tended with great care by literally thousands of small farmers.

Except now it’s burning to a crisp. Massive wildfires in the region have consumed more than 1 million acres, killed 25 people, and destroyed more than 2000 homes, according to reports that I’ve read.

Reports are still coming in, but at least 500 acres of old vines have been destroyed, and many thousands more ruined by smoke.

Because this is a very rural region, populated almost entirely by tiny producers and growers, losses are likely to be much more impactful than they would be for a region where large wineries (properly insured and capitalized) might suffer losses. Many thousands of people’s livelihoods have been wiped out for a season

If you’d like to contribute directly, a GoFundMe has been set up for that purpose by the Wines of Chile organization.

Otherwise, shop for some wines from Itata, or some wines from Maule. Look for Cinsault, Carignan, and of course, País.

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (Cyclone/Flooding)

Autumn colors in Hawkes Bay

The North Island of New Zealand just got absolutely clobbered by Cyclone Gabrielle, which killed 11 people, forced thousands from their homes, and in a massive deluge flooded much of the region’s vineyards just as harvest was beginning to approach.

The Hawkes Bay region, threaded as it is with several rivers, was positively inundated, as rivers deposited fine silt up to six feet deep in vineyards, wineries, and homes. Luckily the effects of the cyclone were quite local, and so much of New Zealand will have a fine harvest this season, but Hawke’s Bay, and its attendant Gimblett Gravels area, are likely to harvest and bottle very little this season.

Buying Hawkes Bay wines will definitely help the wine industry there with its recovery. Look for Cabernet-based red blends, Merlot, and Syrah’s in particular. If you’d like to help out one wine producer who was hit particularly hard, find some Esk Valley wines. And if you’d like to give more directly to people in need, I suggest Red Cross of New Zealand.

Turkey (Earthquake)

A vineyard in Turkey

No one needs to be told of the utter devastation that has befallen Turkey in the wake of the series of earthquakes that struck the country (and Syria) on February 6th and then again on February 20th.

To be honest, the wine industry isn’t where the suffering is most acute in Turkey right now, and your money will have a much greater impact with some of the organizations I’ve listed above.

However, the wine industry in Turkey needed support even before the earthquakes, thanks to an increasingly hard-line, anti-alcohol government that seems intent on suppressing the wine industry on religious grounds.

Turkish wine, when good, is fantastic. It’s a…

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2023/03/drink-for-good-buying-wine-for-social-impact

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