Sustainability in the Tasting Room
When we think about being a sustainable vineyard or winery, we often focus on farming and winemaking practices and often overlook a key facet; the tasting room. Because this is the most customer-facing aspect of many businesses, it’s an incredible opportunity to institute sustainable practices that not only aid in 360-degree sustainability practices, but also provide an opportunity to teach consumers in real-time the importance of sustainability. Let’s take a walk around the grounds of a typical tasting room and please follow the links for more information and product ideas.
Starting outside of the tasting room by xeriscaping or landscaping with plants that do not require irrigation and are native to the environment. In addition to this these types of plants, herb gardens, sensory gardens, bee, and butterfly gardens proliferate sustainable practices. Employee gardens on the property encourage camaraderie amongst the staff and create a food source for them as well.
As we move into the tasting room, literature, signage promoting, and explaining SIP Certified and your practices. From there the stage is set and your options to use other sustainable touches that help educate the consumer. A few, fun, practical suggestions include:
- Compostable bathroom paper towels
- Local fruits, and snacks
- Wine bottle water glasses
- Refillable pitchers
- Recycled pens
- Recycled cork products
- Sustainably sourced retail items (local crafts with reclaimed wood, t-shirts made from responsibly sourced fabric)
- Reuse packing material for other shipments
- Use cardboard or fiberboard inserts instead of Styrofoam
- Reuse bubble wrap
Often times, we see the most waste created at events, and thanks to the advent of biodegradable cutlery and flatware, much waste can be alleviated through using these. Creating clear signage to delineate between recycling, compostable, and garbage bins. This is an excellent educational opportunity to convey to customers where this waste is headed. As a general rule at events, you should consider using pitchers and glasses for water over bottled water.
Share Your Good Work
With so much information readily available to talk about with consumers, the possibilities are endless for talking points. From explaining the definition of sustainability to how it is put into practice in the vineyard and winery. Take the tasters beyond the tasting room by talking about different wildlife that can be seen in the vineyard, and what your vineyards do to minimize the impact on local wildlife while incorporating pest management.
Education begins in the tasting room and it’s a fantastic resource to have your best face forward when it comes to sustainability.