Recently, I have been writing a lot on a topic which interests me and concerns us all: Corporate Social Responsibility in the wine industry. It might sound like dry corporate-bingo-speak, but the dynamics are really interesting. Basically, since wine is an agricultural product, the production of it has an impact on the environment. Because the harvest is labor intensive and short in duration, there are many workers brought in for short periods of time. Where a small family producer might feel a responsibility to their children and the soils they have inherited, the larger producers who dominate the world market have their key responsibility to their shareholders. Nothing wrong or strange with that. However, since the wine industry has a pretty noticeable impact on the global environment (in particular the "carbon footprint") it matters what they do.

So how to get the big guns to care? Well, they can use their good deeds for marketing purposes, but more than that - if we as consumers spend a bit more time thinking about what we are drinking, who has made it and how, we can easily influence them to prioritize these issues over time. Prioritize fair wages, safe working conditions, reduction of harmful pesticides, reduction of carbon footprint of heavy bottles... California and Oregon have strong regional programs, and South Africa and New Zealand is working diligently as well (South Africa has a big social problem to work with and Wines of South Africa are facing the issues at hand, but it would not hurt to keep pushing the producers).

I've recently written a post on this topic for the Swedish site Vinbanken (in English) here and more of a business article in Meninger's Wine Business International here. Would love to hear your thoughts!