An interesting approach to making wine more sustainably – one that works for small producers selling in their local market certainly, but is it something that could be ramped up to a larger operation? Is it even possible to have a larger operation be considered sustainable – and if so, what practices are going to have to be reworked?
In conceiving the Natural Process Alliance, Kevin Kelley wanted to strip away all the excess of winemaking, from glass bottles to added yeast. He wanted simplicity so badly that he proposed this simple wording for the label of his new project: “Ingredients: Grapes.”
Regulators scoffed. Kelley sent cellar records showing he hadn’t used a single additive. He got two choices: ditch the language, or get his label rejected.
“The federal government does not believe that wine can be made just with grapes,” Kelley says, “which shows you where our industry is.”
The National Process Alliance wines have quickly become one of California wine’s most compelling developments since they began appearing in restaurants a few weeks ago. The bottles give it away: stainless-steel water canisters from Chico-based Klean Kanteen. Kelley delivers them filled and retrieves them empty, a modern-day dairyman of sorts.