What's yellow, blue, and green all over?
The environmentally friendly and utterly delicious wines of Yellow + Blue, that's what.
Just as yellow + blue makes green on the color wheel, Yellow + Blue, brainchild of Matt Cain (left) is redefining what it means to be green in the wine business.
Packaged using Tetra Pak technology, Y+B wines come in liter-sized boxes, leave half the carbon footprint of regularly packaged wines that require glass, cork, labels and chemicals, plus the wines stay fresher longer after opening (so that you can save that bonus 250ml to drink--not to cook with--later). While other producers may make the vague claim their wines are "made from organic grapes," Y + B wines are not only 100% certified organic throughout the entire growing, winemaking and packaging process, but they show a true sense of terroir and manage to taste good too! Quite a feat, if you ask me.
Need proof? Read my recent review of the 2009 Malbec, here.
And, as if it wasn't enough to make good wine that is good for the environment, Y + B also gives back by donating 1% of sales to help entrepreneurs in developing countries through kiva.org.
This Friday, February 18th, we have the pleasure of welcoming Matt Cain to our tasting room in Redwood City for our first ever box-wine lineup featuring Y + B wines. If you are in the Bay Area and passionate about the environment, wine, or (hopefully) both, we hope you stop by Wines with Good Karma: Yellow + Blue Wines with Matt Cain at 5 p.m. for a taste!
Even if you can't make it to the tasting, you can get to know Matt and the Y + B philosophy a little more here. Below, Matt discusses his experiences leading to the founding Y + B, what it means to be green, and how we can all drink a little greener day-to-day...
Winemaker Interview with Matt Cain (Yellow + Blue)
K&L: How did you get into the wine business?
Matt Cain: Completely by accident! I was a finance major in college, and left school after three years to trade my own money. I had a broker in Chicago and traded futures... T-Bonds, currencies and commodities... for my own account. I did this for three years, and after making and losing a boatload of money, I realized that it just wasn't my calling in life.
So I went back to school, and since I also needed a way to pay my bills, I started working in a well regarded restaurant with a great wine list. As you may have already guessed, I fell in love with wine soon after starting...
It took me an extra year to finish my degree because I was so busy traveling to France, Italy, Sonoma, Napa, etc. to learn about wine. I eventually started working for an east coast distributor/importer, then for Peter Weygandt, and then Kermit Lynch for a decade before starting my own company.
K&L: How has your experience working with (respected French wine importer) Kermit Lynch shaped your philosophy on wine?
MC: There is no question that working for Kermit has left a permanent mark. His commitment to natural wines, to the producers who make them, and to the care for the wines at every step of transport and storage are all philosophies I bring to my own business. In addition, his honest, straightforward way of conducting business is a philosophy I try to bring to my dealings in the trade.
What is the inspiration behind Yellow + Blue?
I am inspired by the idea of finding a 21st century solution to an outdated business model. I love great wine, but I also have three small children that need to live in the world in the future. Using the advances in farming, transport capabilities, as well as package design, our business mission is to deliver high quality, value oriented wines to the market without the enormous environmental cost of the traditional import model. Our motto is "Drink Well, Do Good."
How can packaging can impact a wine consumer's carbon footprint?
A case of wine in glass weighs about 40 pounds. It's nine liters of liquid (about 19 pounds) enclosed in 20+ pounds of glass.
Bottles and corks are great for aging wine, and you can be sure that I love pulling the cork out of an old Tempier just as much as anyone. However, the overwhelming majority of wine shipped to the U.S. is drunk within hours of purchase, not decades, making the true benefits of glass and cork irrelevant for most wines.
We had our carbon footprint measured. The way we buy, transport and package wine yields a carbon footprint that is half of the "traditional" way of bottling and shipping. It's a significant difference. A case of my wine is 12 liters of liquid (about 25 pounds) and weighs in at 28 pounds total. Just three pounds of packaging versus 20+.
A side note regarding our carbon footprint... We have chosen to offset the balance of our carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets. Thus, we are are carbon neutral business, and I believe the only US importer that is such.
How would you define "natural" winemaking, and does it impact how you produce, as well as how you consume wine?
Natural winemaking, in my opinion, is the only way. It's a non-interventionist, "let nature take its course" attitude toward both viticulture and vinification. The beauty of wine is its diversity,and that beauty isn't coaxed out in the laboratory. It's coaxed out of the earth by a winegrower that realizes that the world exists just as it is... without chemicals, manufactured yeasts, and other additives... and he is willing to stay out of the way to let his small piece of the world express itself in his wine.
What did you drink last night? (Or the last time you had a glass of wine that wasn't your own?) Where?
'08 Dauvissat Chablis "Vaillons", '08 Sineann Pinot Noir, '01 Joguet "Dioterie", '05 Charbonniere Vacqueyras... just a few highlights from my week in SoCal. I love wine, and drink as many different wines as possible on a regular basis.
Can you share with us some tips on how we can be "greener" drinkers day-to-day, whether we're out on the town or enjoying wine at home?
Look for organic wines, sustainable wines, wines in non-glass containers and local wines... these are great ways to be "greener".
When: Friday, February 18th from 5-6:30 p.m.
Where: K&L Redwood City
For details on this tasting and to check out other upcoming K&L events and tastings, visit KLWines.com.
Shop YELLOW + BLUE on KLWines.com. Opt for will-call pick up to keep up that carbon footprint low!
Staying local? Find Y+B Wines near you.
Renewable Choice Energy (where do those carbon credits go, anyways?)