Everyone seems to have their own idea about what “sustainability” means.
In the agriculture world, do not assume that sustainable is always organic, or that organic is always sustainable.
Sustainable farming is about flexibility. Sustainability actually means “the capacity to endure.”
In the world of vineyards and grapes, sustainability means looking at the environment as a whole, using man-made or natural products. A sustainably-farmed vineyard will usually be a bit scruffy looking. Those farmers actually plow and hoe their weeds instead of using herbicides.
At the winery, as little-as-possible “winemaker secrets” or undisclosed chemicals, sugars and acids are added to the wines.
Making sustainable takes into account every aspect of the process, from how the grapes were grown to the most important aspect, taste.Remember, people drink wine that tastes good. They won’t accept a poor tasting wine, just because it was produced sustainably.
The results of this small Shawinigan Lake winery are the reason why.
The 2014 Unsworth Symphony is one of the best local wines I have tried. This blend of 95% Cabernet Libre, a modern hybrid that repels fungal disease, and 5% partially-dried Marechal Foch grapes was aged in French oak barrels for two years.
The result is a dark ruby wine with aromas of baked black cherries, roasted red pepper and cinnamon. Bright, youthful flavours of crushed blackberries, raspberries and currents, plus earthy notes of dried fig and cedar complete the tasting experience.
This is the time of year when vintages are running out. Fortunately bottles of Unsworth Rose and a refreshing dry white blend called Allegro are still available at Lucky’s Liquor.
At the winery, 2017 bottling will commence late this month. By mid-April new vintages will be available.
The Unsworth Vineyards Restaurant also supports local and sustainable practices with its community restaurant program.
Modeled after popular community-supported agriculture programs popping up all over Vancouver Island, a membership gives you 5 three-course dinners to be enjoyed on Thursdays and Fridays from October 20th until the end of April for only $175.
The set menu is created from locally sourced ingredients and changes every two weeks – offering different culinary adventures to brighten up the winter months.
If you did not sign up last fall, no worries, you can still enjoy lunch or dinner at the Unsworth Restaurant from Wednesday through Sunday and have fun watching the chickens run around the vineyards.