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Editor's Letter: Can Wine Save the World?

Wine industry innovators lead the way in sustainable farming, regenerative energy use, and supply-chain management. Plus, their wine is fantastic.

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Welcome to Worth Magazine’s first-ever Sustainability Issue! This magazine reflects our growing understanding that as the world changes, business must change. There are new constraints on extractive industries, some by government regulation, but others by consumer demand. Right now everyone from nations leading financial advisors to consumers at the grocery story are making decisions based on sustainability. All businesses, and business leaders, will have to adapt. In this issue, we chose winemaking as a model for sustainable agriculture, green manufacturing, and consumer product marketing.

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Humans have been making wine for at least 6000 years. Earthenware pots, called qvevris, were filled with grape juice and buried in what is now the country of Georgia. The qvevris would spend anywhere from a year to 50 years underground fermenting. Of course, Winemaking is big business now, with more than 236 million hectoliters of wine produced in 2021. Not all of that wine makes it into bottles, but if it did it would be well over 2 billion bottles a year. An impressive number, but below average. Indeed, wine production has been below average for the last three years, The reason? Climate change.

The effects of climate change are uneven but generally detrimental. European producers have struggled, while South America and Australia have flourished. Energy costs to process grapes have skyrocketed, supply chain problems have strained exports, and shipping issues have limited local distribution. Winemakers must balance short-term profits with long-term sustainability. In this issue, we highlight the winemaking innovators that are rising to that challenge.

Our cover story features Julia Jackson of Jackon Family Wineries (La Crema, Kendall-Jackson, Cardinale). After watching the horrific wildfires of 2017 ravage through the Sonoma Valley, Jackson founded Grounded to create an in-person collaboration among the world’s foremost climate experts. COVID has slowed the live conference, but it has not stopped Julia from advocating and change-making.

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After that, Worth’s Ethical Cellar columnists, Deborah Grayson and Jonathan Russo, break down the business of sustainable winemaking. Biodynamic, Sustainable, and Organic all mean different things. They also uncover many vineyards that are following the best sustainable practices but can’t advertise them without paying licensing fees. Best of all, we have their selections for the best wine picks. Don’t buy them because they are sustainable, buy them because they taste great.

We also have a profile of Michael Dorf of City Winery. As an event-space owner and wine producer, he explains how to minimize climate impact and maximize profit. Want to cut glass consumption and lower shipping and container costs? Serve wine on tap. This Fall City Winery will open new taps at Grand Central Station in New York. BYOB never sounded so good.

Of course, Worth is still your source for living and investing better. In this issue, we are launching the Forecast section, where we publish the best investing advice from the world’s leading financial advisors. Forecast is where you should head to find out how to manage the inflation crisis or re-balance your portfolio for retirement.

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Finally, as someone relatively new to Worth, I want to thank you for making me part of your community. Between Families of Worth, Women and Worth, the Health and Wealth of Our Planet conference (9/20, NYC), Worth is much more than a magazine. It is a mission. Building worth beyond wealth isn’t something any of us can do alone.

As such, I welcome your feedback at dan.costa@clarim-media.com. Keep in mind that we are collecting nominations for the 2022 edition of the Worthy 100. You can submit your nomination here.

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