Venturi is the Real McCoy for Eco-friendly

"At the risk of sounding cynical, there is something annoying about businesses that tie their products and services to altruism. We all want to be responsible citizens, but sometimes we make compromises. Marketing wonks know this. That's why once-meaningful words like "environment" and "sustainable vineyards" trumpet their stewardship of the environment, highlighting agricultural certifications alongside point ratings and medals they pick up.

Fair enough, but I wonder how many winemakers would go to the time, trouble and expense of sustainable agricultural practices if there wasn't some marketing payoff. Do their values flow from their wine, or does their wine flow from their values?

Venturi Schulze Vineyard in Cobble Hill is a study in the latter. Founded in 1987 by husband-and-wife team Giordano Venturi and Marilyn Schulze, the vineyard grew out of a dream the pair had to grow their own grapes and make their own wine using natural, organic and sustainable practices, long before it came into fashion. With only a van, an idea and a loan of $100,000 from Island Savings Credit Union, the pair quit their teaching jobs in Vancouver and purchased 15 acres of land, only four of which were suitable for vines. (Venturi Schulze purchased additional property in 1999 and now has 30 acres, 18 of which are under trellis.)"