Jay Weinstein, Forecast Earth Food Correspondent
Don't blame me if you crash the car this New Year's eve. But I do say drink all you want. There are so many great choices in organic, sustainable, and locally-produced wines , champagnes, and spirits on the market now that you can feel good about consuming a great bevy of beverages.
I learned of a wine shop in Harlem, New York, called The Winery that prioritizes wines produced from grapes grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or environmentally destructive agricultural practices. When I visited the boutique last week, more than one in ten bottles was marked with a green star, indicating sustainable production. Nobu Otsu, the proprietor, said a huge swath of his customers choose green-star bottles over standard bottles. For those of you familiar with West Harlem, you'll recall that this isn't exactly the city's most well-heeled neighborhood. The area around the shop is bustling, but it's economically behind many other neighborhoods in Manhattan. But business was booming, and ecologically sound wines were flying off the shelves.
Mr. Otsu explains his simple philosophy clearly on the store's website:
"Our mission is to research and offer quality wines from producers who carefully craft wines with artful skills and a respect to the nature and the environment.
"Many of our wines are environmentally friendly. Some are organic and biodynamic while others are sustainably grown. Majority of wine producers, however, choose not to print this distinction on their label because the time- and money-consuming approval process is cumbersome. Furthermore, quite naturally, they do not want to lose protective options in case disastrous pests and diseases hit their vineyards.
"We like to enjoy wine as a part of our day-to-day life, so we keep the price under $20 for the most of our selection. For those who want something special, we also offer undiscovered top-notch wines from major appellations.
"The Winery is a community based store. We try our best to support local communities and non-profit charity organizations in this area to help make this community better place to live and work."
That philosophy is a great basis for running a business in a world in need of changing. And it's good reason to celebrate the start of a new year.