|Just 4 out of 29 wines are organic and only 1 or 2 of those are biodynamic|
But what's happening with their wines? Whoa, Nellie. Their leadership position in all other areas leaves one scratching one's head.
I have gotten so frustrated, I've taken to posting this Yelp review:
"I used to like Gather. Until...I started to study the wine list and realized it was phony baloney! While the food may be organic, the wine is not! (organically grown, that is).
On its web site, Gather says: "The wines on this list have been selected...because the producers who made them demonstrate their commitment by practicing organic, biodynamic and/or sustainable viticulture."
Alas, less than 15% of the wines listed are organic (certified) and only 1-2 out of 29 wines are biodynamic. That means that more than 85% of these wines are neither certified organic nor biodynamic."
The list on the site today (Nov. 27, 2011) contains the following wines that I know are made with 100% certified grapes: Handley's Estate Chardonnay ($48 for a $20 wine), the Robert Sinskey Pinot Gris, and the Beckmen Le Bec Blanc ($48 for an $18 wine). In the reds, there is one - the Preston Zinfandel.
Don't you think Gather - given its role in advancing environmentally friendly practices - should be expected to do better than this?"
If you think Gather should do better, please email them. With so many incredible certified organic producers and wines locally, it's ridiculous to see a wine list like this one at a restaurant that has such an opportunity to showcase what's really going on in the local and organic side of wine. And there are plenty of reasonably priced wines (like the ones in their $20 retail price point) that could be served.
(And why do they bother to say their wine choices are organic, biodynamic, etc...? Do they count on us not knowing who is and who isn't? Perish the thought.)
UPDATE: It's Dec. 5 and Gather has responded to my Yelp review, pointing out many of these issues, by saying that 7 of their wines are certified organically grown. I've asked them to validate those certifications, since there isn't any input that I have had from the wineries in question that the wines Gather says are certified are in fact certfied. I am waiting for their reply and will publish a new post when I hear back with more information that resolves some of these questions.
UPDATE: It's Dec. 11 and Gather has submitted a comment which I just published here. In answer to their questions, I already did email the wine person there 9 months ago (I have now sent Gather the email exchange between us). Gather sent me a list of wines with their certification status. According to them, there are 3-4 more wines that are made with certified grapes. I have asked each of the wineries to provide verification that these wines are certified. I haven't heard from the wineries or from Gather that the wines Gather would like to add to the certifieds list are in fact certified.
So best case scenario, if we gave Gather the benefit of the doubt, 7 out of 29 wines are certified, which is not a very impressive record. There are more than 150 wineries with certified organic viticulture making hundreds of wines. Some rate from 100 points from Parker all the way down. Most hover in the $10-40 price range, and many rank in the low 90's from
And while it's true it's great, as Gather notes, that big chains should offer us organically grown choices, it's also true that most movements rely upon small movements to become mainstream market influencers. That is why we look to the edge, trend leaders, like Green's and Gather, to be demonstrate to the rest of their industries, how it can be done. I hope Gather will branch out on its path of showing us how good organically grown wine can be and that this interaction has been educational about organic viticultiure's importance and promise. Certification is an essential part of building a movement. And those who have gone down the route of certification (paperwork and a small amount of cash - about $10 an acre) should receive our support and attention.