This advertising content was produced in collaboration with our partner, Root:1.
In the wine ecosystem, sustainability is too often a buzzword fraught with lofty promises and lip service. And these days, wineries that engage in performative or inauthentic practices to check boxes are more easily caught by consumers demanding more from the people who put wine in their glasses.
But Root:1 has always exemplified a deep, genuine commitment to sustainability: in the vineyard, cellar, community, and beyond. Recently, the Chilean producer has doubled down on that devotion with a relaunch that better communicates and encapsulates its ethos, and speaks directly to the socially- and environmentally-conscious consumer. This rebrand is expressed visually through its new bottle, with its simple, clean paper label that proudly portrays its Wines of Chile sustainability seal, and a redesign of the brand’s “mother root” motif to express its authenticity and connection to nature.
“Protected by the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountain range, Chile is a land of magnificent landscapes that have always embraced nature to nurture life,” says winemaker Ángel Marchant. “Our wines are a reflection of this culture.” Woven throughout Root:1’s philosophy is the concept of being “wildly sustainable,” a reference both to the company’s steadfast initiatives to produce world-class wines in the most responsible way and the wilderness outside their doors.
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Sustainable From the Start
Root:1 was founded in 2000 in Chile’s Maipo Valley, just south of Santiago and bordered by the Andes Mountains to the east; the region’s prolonged dry season, coastal influence, and alluvial soils draw comparisons to Bordeaux. The company’s vineyards here are joined by ones in the Colchagua Valley, which shares a similar terroir to Napa Valley, and in the Casablanca Valley, whose long growing season, ample sunshine, and cool maritime influence make it the perfect setting for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc—just like New Zealand’s Marlborough Valley.
Chile’s isolated location—protected by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west—affords it the luxury of remaining one of the few wine regions in the world where ungrafted European rootstock was unaffected by phylloxera. While traditionally that may already give producers a leg up on leaning into minimal interventions, Root:1 has continued to vigorously pursue natural techniques. In 2002, the winery obtained the ISO 14001 Environmental Management certification for its dedication to preventing pollution and complying with environmental protection laws, and in 2013, it was the first winery to be certified 100 percent sustainable by Wines of Chile.
Attaining that coveted achievement might have been the end of the sustainability journey for some producers. For Root:1, it proved to be the catalyst for a continued laser focus on efforts to soundly protect and preserve their surroundings while making estate-bottled expressions that offer high quality and superior value—a rare combination.
“All vineyards were planted in complete harmony with streams and natural corridors,” says Marchant. “We have preserved every single tree in all of our vineyards, and we take care of them as essential organisms in the life balance.”
That care and preservation extend to the products used to foster vine growth and curb diseases and pests. There is no scheduled fumigation, and chemicals are used only as a last resort; the natural fungus Trichoderma battles harmful fungi, and products made from tea and citrus extract keep botrytis at bay. Since 2001, 100 percent of the grape residue has been composted and reused as fertilizer. The Colchagua vineyards have been farmed organically since 2018 and are currently undertaking the steps for organic certification.
Root:1’s Ongoing Environmental Innovations
To mitigate their impact on Chile’s extreme water crisis—the country has been in a drought for over a decade that’s deemed the worst in a thousand years—the viticultural team has undertaken a program to “re-educate” the vines by reducing water consumption to encourage deep root growth. As a result, water usage was lessened by half in the Maipo Valley’s Trinidad Vineyard and by 80 percent in the La Robleria Vineyard in the Colchagua Valley.
Their large-scale underground gravity flow cellar’s nearly-constant temperature eliminates the need for heat or air conditioning. Since 2015, the winery has also engaged in measured energy usage, employed a photovoltaic-supported heat pump in the dining hall, water heater, and dressing rooms, and switched to LED lighting—initiatives that have resulted in an 80 percent reduction in electricity usage.
International shipments eschew plastic or polystyrene for cardboard, and packaging materials are recycled and tracked weekly, with a recoverability indicator approaching 100 percent. And because sustainability doesn’t stop at the loading dock, Root:1 pursues projects tied to social responsibility. The production team is hired from Melpilla, Las Cabras, Peuo, and other local communities in central Chile. Other community outreach efforts include the reconstruction of the Los Pececitos school after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
All of this results in a portfolio of five vibrant wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenère, and Heritage Red) that reflect a sense of place—and stem from a profound synergy with Chile’s natural environment. As Marchant puts it, “for the conscious wine drinker, Root:1 is a … determined and contemporary brand that embraces nature and empowers people to live consciously.”
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