You are what you eat AND DRINK… Why have we missed stating the obvious DRINK part for so long? As you think about this question, consider where we’d be today, if – in the 60s – we would have chanted this concept, with “drink” also included. Then, our children would be further ahead in their thinking. Consider what’s below in the findings, and  you might understand why I’ve made this claim.

We Are What We Put Into Our Bodies

I recently saw a graph showing the most sustainable vineyards in the world. The US was lower on the list than I wanted it to be. On one hand, that was a disappointment. On the other, I live in Sonoma County, and by 2019, this entire county is supposed to be registered as “sustainable.” The rigors are impressive, so I feel pretty great about that. I’ve lived my life organically. I was naturally organic until the 60s. Then processed foods (dry cereals, for instance) were beginning to show that they were causing some health problems. So, I backed off foods that weren’t being sold in the just opened “health food stores.” I’ve watched the movement since the 60s, as soon as the phrase “you are what you eat,” came to life. When dining out, there’s no fast food, except an occasional Panda indulgence. (Yeah, I love noodles; and I only buy Italian noodles for home, since they’re not big on chemical farming in Europe. Helpful hint.)

This all said, all three of my daughters are now the cooks for their families, all eating and enjoying a healthy, slow food lifestyle. The Wine Market Council’s findings, therefore, don’t surprise me one iota. Those of us who live like I do, raised our kids the way I did. They’re now a new generation of educated consumers and home economists. Yes, we’ll pay more for less intervention. It’s an upside down and backwards way to live. This is what our mechanized food system has done to us. We’ll support small, local farmers, because they deliver the good goods.

In Time for Earth Day 2018: Wine Market Council just released the results of their study: “Green” Study Highlighting U.S. Wine Consumer Attitudes Toward Organic, Sustainable and Biodynamic Production

Survey finds consumer willingness to spend slightly more for wine made of  organically grown grapes and sustainably and biodynamically produced wines, as well as other key data. The research survey looks into wine consumers’ understanding, perception and reaction to various green designations for wine production.

“We uncovered a lot of very insightful data that shows the perceived benefits these ‘green’ wines have to consumers and how relevant these benefits are to the buying decision,” said Steve Burns, president of Wine Market Council. “These findings will help our members make key business decisions in the years ahead.”


For the study, Wine Market Council surveyed 1,159 primarily high frequency wine drinkers (those who consume wine more often than once a week). Focused specifically on how consumers identify and understand the various production methods, they inquired about the apparent benefits to consumers and how relevant green methods are to pricing and buying decisions. The complete report is now available to Wine Market Council members and will be discussed at the association’s upcoming Annual Membership Meeting taking place May 11, 2018, at The CIA at Copia in Napa.

The association shared a few highlights including:

Consumers are more confident that they understand what “made from organic grapes” means than what “sustainable” or “biodynamic” mean. There was a strong correlation between confidence of understanding and interest in these wines.

  • Sustainable and biodynamic wines are significantly more often associated with external environmental impact (water and CO2 issues) than organic wine and wine made from organic grapes, which in turn are more often associated with input issues (no SO2, no synthetic pesticides/fertilizers, non-GMO).
  • There was little difference perceived between “organic wine” and “wine made from organic grapes,” but substantial differences between those wines and biodynamic and sustainable production.
  • The data indicates a willingness to spend slightly more for wine made from organically grown grapes than from conventional grapes, and slightly more still for sustainably/biodynamical produced wines than wine made from organically grown grapes.

SIDEBAR: When Oliver’s moved into my neighborhood, I had never seen the word “conventional” used to describe food. I asked the young man working on the “conventional” table, what are “conventional foods?” He shot right back… “The ones with poisons on them.” We all had a good laugh. As I like saying, “Funny, not funny.”

“Ah… I see,” I thought…

The study also dove deeper into consumer habits through a 3-day online discussion with 11 selected high frequency wine drinkers. Among the highlights:

  • A commitment to organic food doesn’t directly translate into a similar commitment to “organic” wine. Other decision-making factors supersede how the wine was produced.
  • Barriers to purchasing wine made using these production methods include the following: perceptions that they cost more, not liking one they had tried, skepticism about there being standards behind the designations, availability, visibility, and a lack of awareness.
  • The willingness to pay more for these wines is dependent on occasion, previous trial, or recommendation.
  • These designations could be a tipping point for decisions to purchase a wine among those who see green production as a positive.

Wine Market Council provides its proprietary research to association members only. Upcoming research projects include a robust retail wine study to be released this summer.  Membership dues are based upon different criteria that are dependent upon member association with the wine industry. You can inquire about membership at the Wine Market Council website, or email Wine Market Council at Media questions and requests should be sent to

Wine Market Council is hosting their Annual Membership Meeting on Friday, May 11, 2018, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at The CIA at Copia (500 First Street, Napa, California). This year’s meeting kicks off with V.I.P. keynoter, Christian Navarro, president and co-owner of Wally’s Wine & Spirits and Wally’s Beverly Hills. For more details and to register for this meeting, click on this link: