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Leon Kaye headshot

Pop the Corks! This Sparkling Wine Now Gives off Flavor Notes of Sustainability

Martini says grape suppliers for the brand's popular asti sparkling wine will be certified as sustainable by the end of this year.
By Leon Kaye
sparkling wine

Drink some bubbly to the latest chapter in Bacardi’s quest to become a more responsible company: One of its popular sparkling wine brands announced that all of the suppliers for its key ingredients will be certified as sustainable by the end of this year.

Martini, which of course also churns out that necessity for any bar, vermouth, has said that all of its asti grape growers are on target to score the sustainability stamp of approval from Equalitas, which in recent years has developed a leading sustainability benchmark for Italian wine making. A third party, Valoritalia, has verified that yes, indeed, those Moscato Bianco grapes grown in Italy’s Piedmont region are legittimamente sostenibile.

In fairness, Martini’s operations have already been sustainable and responsible, based on the fact that company has long been sourcing these grapes for its asti sparkling wine from hundreds of small grape growers. Those growers in turn churn the grapes into must, the juice that eventually becomes bubbly. According to the brand, 70 percent of those growers, which are organized into various cooperatives, have already completed the process to meet Equalitas’ standards; the rest are on course to meet those benchmarks before 2022. One of Martini’s wineries, which produces almost one-third of that asti must (the juice that eventually ferments and becomes wine), has already completed the entire sustainability process.

It’s not as if Martini and its parent, Bacardi, really have much to prove on the responsible business front. The brand's ongoing relationships with small growers and a quality product speaks to its longevity: Incidentally, 2021 marks 150 years since Martini & Rossi introduced its first moscato spumante d’Asti way back in 1871. Further, Martini has been ahead of many of its competitors in the sustainability race: The brand launched its own business center focused on sustainability practices in 1987.

But as more consumers demand that companies embed sustainability into the sourcing and production of their favorite products, market forces are at play here. It’s not enough to rely on tradition or source from family farms – consistency in manufacturing, proof that products are made responsibility and third-party verification are ways in which companies can prove to their customers that their products are legit. That goes for just about any gadget, food or drink, including sparkling wine. Companies must face the reality that they must respond to consumers' questions and concerns in kind.

“We have worked closely with the same farming communities growing the finest Moscato grapes in the same beautiful hills for generations – in fact for the last 150 years,” said Giorgio Castagnotti, Director of the company’s operations center in Pessione, Italy, “and we want to continue to do so for generations to come. It’s always made sense then for us support our grape growers through our sustainability initiatives.”

While many beer, wine and liquor brands are still centering their corporate responsibility efforts on responsible drinking, Bacardi has long checked that box and shows how a company in any sector can integrate the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability. Last year, as the pandemic devastated the restaurants and bars alike, the company launched an effort to take on youth unemployment while continuing to integrate environmental responsibility tactics within its internal employee engagement programs. The company has also rolled out compostable bottles and even deployed a campaign around an emoji to raise awareness about environmental challenges.

Image credit: Michael Heintz/Unsplash

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye