NEWS & INFORMATION
Hunt Country Vineyards is thrilled to announce that we are officially certified sustainable under the brand new Sustainable Winegrowing program from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation!
The New York Sustainable Winegrowing Program is a voluntary third-party certification program that recognizes vineyards that adhere to the highest standards of sustainability, ensuring the long-term health and vitality of New York’s vineyards.
We have advocated for the creation of a rigorous sustainability certification program for New York State for many years. Other states and countries have similar certification options but until now we didn’t have one for New York wineries. Suzanne Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards, chaired the committee that guided the effort’s development at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
"Our loyal fans know about our passion for stewardship," says Suzanne. "But for all of the people who don’t know us already, it’s important to have this validation for our dedication to sustainability."
“We are proud to recognize the first officially certified growers under the New York Sustainable Winegrowing Program," says Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. “Without their dedication to doing good for the environment and the community, this initiative wouldn’t exist. We look forward to wine enthusiasts tasting the fruits of their labor soon.”
The New York Wine & Grape Foundation describes the Sustainable Winegrowing Program as providing a clear pathway for vineyards to achieve certification by implementing regionally defined sustainability standards. These standards are compiled in the annually reviewed VineBalance workbook, which encompasses 144 action items addressing various aspects of sustainability, including input reduction, soil health, water protection, resources and waste, energy conservation, ecosystem health, climate resiliency, continuous improvement, and social equity.
This certification is just the latest recognition of Hunt Country's sustainability ethos and efforts. In 2020, we received the New York Wine & Grape Foundation's Sustainability Award. In 2021, we joined the International Wineries for Climate Action, a working group taking collective action to decarbonize the global wine industry. We’ve also won awards for our leadership in renewable energy, and Suzanne and her parents were recognized by Wine Business Monthly as some of the top leaders who shape the way the wine industry operates because of our sustainability efforts.
Raise a glass and celebrate this latest achievement with us! And thank you for supporting everything we do here at Hunt Country!
By now you've probably heard about the late frost that hit the Finger Lakes region last week. Many vineyards suffered heavy damage and Hunt Country, unfortunately, was no exception. We're still assessing the exact level of damage and it will be a few weeks before we know for sure. However, it appears that our vinifera grapes – Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling – will be a complete loss with no harvest this year. On the other hand (and presuming there are no additional disasters) our hybrid grapes – Vidal Blanc and Vignoles in particular – will give us a reduced but sizable crop. We'll keep you posted as the season progresses.
This is the sort of weather event that every winery fears – and the sort of event that will happen more and more often with climate change. Was this recent frost part of the climate crisis we're facing? We don't know. But it's exactly the kind of extreme weather we've been preparing for by diversifying the types of grapes we grow.
Hybrid grapes (as seen in this photo) are far more rugged and resilient than their vinifera relatives. And while hybrids have historically been looked down on in the wine world, they can produce absolutely beautiful wines when given the same love and attention as vinifera grapes.
This is why we grow hybrid grapes. And this is what our Uncharted Terroir line of wines is all about: Enhancing the resilience of our farm through diversification and sparking interest in these more rugged grape varieties by experimenting with new styles and flavors that we all can enjoy.
One way or another, we are going to have amazing wine this year. And if you haven't already added Uncharted Terroir wines to your collection, give them a try!
We are thrilled to begin 2022 by announcing that we are partnering with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital (DCEFF) for a virtual conversation about the effects of climate change on wine and how sustainable practices and diversity in grapes can help ensure the future of fine wine. DCEFF is the world’s premier showcase of environmentally themed films since 1993 and hosts the world's largest environmental film festival every March.
"Climate change is impacting every part of our lives, including what we eat and drink," says Christopher Head, DCEFF Executive Director. "In partnering with Hunt Country Vineyards, DCEFF is hoping not only to bring attention to these effects, but also to learn from and talk about ways that we can mitigate these changes to protect our planet."
The conversation will feature Suzanne Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards, and will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 8:00 to 9:00 pm EST. With each "Wine and Conversation" ticket purchase, participants will receive a trio of wines from our Uncharted Terroir line of wines.
"When I lived in D.C., I loved going to this festival," Suzanne says. "Film is such a powerful medium for informing and inspiring people about the most critical issues of our time. We're thrilled to be teaming up with the world's premiere environmental film festival for this conversation."
Join us for "Wine and Conversation" with DCEFF.
The 22 members of International Wineries for Climate Action – including Hunt Country Vineyards – have signed on to an open letter released this week calling on the wine trade to take climate action.
The climate emergency is by far the most severe threat that we face as grape growers and wine producers. As world leaders convene this month at COP26 in Scotland to reaffirm their support for the commitments made in 2015 at the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, we recognize now as a critical moment in time for the wine community to voice our support for the continuation of these important efforts and take action within our own companies.
We believe that the wine trade can be a beacon of hope and action in the global response to the climate crisis – and serve as a model for other sectors.
We also greatly appreciate your support as wine lovers for everything we're doing right here at Hunt Country to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Thank you!
This week Wine Business Monthly released its 2021 list of Wine Industry Leaders – and Suzanne, Art and Joyce made the list!
Every year, Wine Business Monthly sets out to honor those who shape the way the wine industry operates or how people drink wine. With this leaders list, Wine Business Monthly is showcasing men and women who are making a difference. It's full of movers and shakers, and there are more than a few who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Some of the influential people on this list are known to virtually anyone who follows the wine industry, while others are influential yet fly "under the radar". All of them are leaders in the North American wine business.
Hunt Country is included on the list "for leading the Finger Lakes on a variety of environmental issues, most recently in promoting sustainable measures for viticulture, enology and business management projects."
It's a genuine honor to be part of this year's group of outstanding leaders!
We are thrilled to announce that Hunt Country Vineyards is joining International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), a working group taking collective action to decarbonize the global wine industry. We are the first winery in New York state to become an applicant member of IWCA, and one of just 12 new applicant members from around the globe who have committed to addressing the climate crisis by taking immediate steps to reduce their carbon emissions.
Miguel A. Torres, President of Familia Torres, says that when he and Katie Jackson of Jackson Family Wines co-founded IWCA in February 2019, they wanted to act and move beyond simply talking about the urgency of climate change.
“Our goal was to gather the most environmentally committed wineries, and we hoped our initiative would work as a boost for other wineries to accelerate or start their carbon emissions reduction programs," Torres says. "It is therefore great to see that now with 12 new applicant members joining, we are more than 20 wineries worldwide. We are convinced that this will have a multiplier effect."
The Hunt family and team are proud to be part of this international group of rockstar wineries committed to tackling the most pressing issue of our lifetimes.
"We have been working for many years to address climate change in all aspects of our farm and business," says Suzanne Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards and an international climate policy and sustainability expert. "We're thrilled to team up with other wineries around the world who are tackling the same challenges. As a small family-run business we're able to be nimble, but as part of a larger industry effort we'll be able to develop critical mass in creating demand for products and services like lower-carbon glass bottles, packaging, and shipping options. We're excited to be able to share our own expertise and learn from the expertise of others."
The Hunt family has been farming for seven generations, crafting wine since 1981, and is one of the founding families of the Finger Lakes wine region in New York. We continue to be focused on managing our vineyards and business as part of a complete and healthy ecosystem. We produce the majority of our electricity with 348 solar panels, heat and cool with an award-winning geothermal system, provide EV charging stations to customers, focus on soil carbon sequestration and sustainable vineyard practices, and have certified some sections of the farm and vineyards organic. In 2020, we received the NY Wine & Grape Foundation's Sustainability Award.
Click here to read the full press release on the new IWCA applicant members.
The New York viticulture industry’s attempts to create a statewide sustainability certification program moved in fits and starts over the past decade or two, but the latest effort appears to be gaining momentum.
Suzanne Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards and an environmental consultant, has been advocating for the creation of a statewide sustainability program for years. It would benefit Finger Lakes wineries such as hers and reassure consumers who want to know which wines are sustainably made, she said.
“There’s a lot of committed growers ready to sign up once this is launched,” she said.
Forbes just featured co-owner Suzanne Hunt and some of her thoughts on how wine producers should be prepared to explain the idea of sustainability to customers.
“It is complicated. We have to be ready to explain. There is no one size fits all, we have to collaborate to make sure we minimize confusion, make it clear, but there is no way to avoid the complexity.”
Our 2018 Uncharted Terroir Cayuga White received a wonderful little review from Esther Mobley, the wine critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. It was part of a bigger piece she wrote about hybrid wines that she really enjoys – and why hybrid grapes are becoming more and more important.
"What makes the hybrid conversation urgent is climate change. As temperatures warm and weather patterns become more erratic, vinifera may not be able to thrive forever in all of the places where it's currently grown. Some scientific predictions, in fact, suggest if current trends persist, half of the world's wine regions will become inhospitable to vinifera. Sure, the European grapes — all our Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs and Syrahs — are working great in California now. But they may not always...
"Most of the efforts with hybrid winemaking in the U.S., however, are happening outside of California, in areas where extreme weather makes it difficult to grow vinifera successfully... Under its new Uncharted Terroir label, Hunt Country Vineyards in upstate New York has made a nice wine from Cayuga, rich and round with some creaminess from barrel fermentation and lees stirring."
Read the full story when you have a few minutes.
Terroir is often thought of as a snooty wine term. But it's actually a really beautiful concept – especially as it's described by Suzanne Hunt in celebration of Earth Day.
At its best, winemaking is about capturing the unique essence of your place and all of your practices – the terroir – in every bottle of wine. So the fact that we put so much emphasis on stewardship of the land and being as sustainable as possible here at Hunt Country makes perfect sense.
Because our stewardship – all of our decisions about how to take care of the terroir – is critical to the essence of our wine.
To make great wine, you have to have clean air, clean water and healthy soil.
Watch Caring for the Land, a short video that tells our story of sustainability and stewardship.