Patagonia, a purveyor of cult-loved, earth-friendly gear, is veering into the world of wine, extending the Patagonia Provisions line to include natural wines, ciders and sakes.
Why, you weren’t planning on swinging by Patagonia for your happy hour bottle? Perhaps reconsider—the clothing and camping brand brought aboard two wine industry vets to line up Patagonia-exclusive cuvées from stalwart natural wine producers.
Initial offerings include six wines, one Piquette, two ciders and a sake, all curated by Brian McClintic and Vanya Filipovic. Several more will follow later in the fall.
McClintic is a master sommelier and founder of Viticole, an online wine subscription service focused on highlighting organic wines from around the world, while Vanya Filipovic is a Quebec-based importer and coproprietor-slash-wine director of Montreal’s Vin Mon Lapin.
There is one question however: why would a brand best associated with sustainably-made fleece pullovers, technical backpacks, and sweat-wicking sets extend into the wine realm?
In 2012, Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard and Birgit Cameron spearheaded the Provisions extension, initially as a way to offer like-minded shoppers snacks for their journey: soups, chilis, fruit bars, jerkies and other off-grid grub. As the project grew, they expanded to include products for not just outdoor activities, but for every stage of the Patagonia customer’s day. They stocked conservas from their family-owned, sustainably-focused cannery in Galicia and beers made from organic two-row barley and brewed in partnership with Hopworks Urban brewery.
True to Patagonia’s do-better ethos, their new partner wineries have deep roots in ecological stewardship. Methods embraced include growing inter-row crops—planting wildflowers, native grasses and cereals in between vineyards to promote biodiversity in the soil, suppress weed growth and encourage natural flora and fauna. These wineries forgo synthetic fertilizers that increase greenhouse gas emissions and largely use organic treatments for pest control or, let chickens, sheep or waterfowl graze on pests.
“In keeping with the principles that drive Patagonia Provisions’ award-winning, responsibly sourced foods, our natural wines, ciders, and sake are produced using restorative farming practices and ancient, low intervention fermentation techniques,” says Birgit Cameron, co-founder and head of Patagonia Provisions. “As a result, these beverages help rebuild damaged soils, restore vital habitat and draw down carbon—all while filling your glass with lively, region-specific flavors.”
In his eyes, Patagonia founder Chouinard believes that Provisions is Patagonia’s way of continuing to find solutions to environmental issues, telling Bloomberg that “it’s not just another business venture. Food and agriculture are a matter of human survival.” If the Patagonia customer cares about what they’re wearing, they likely care about what they’re eating.
This extends to what they’re drinking.
Patagonia Provisions now sells a vibrant, life-filled Chablis from Château de Béru, made by Athénaïs de Béru on her family’s 400-year-old estate. She abandoned conventional farming techniques and converted to biodynamic practices in 2010, though everything is still carefully aged in the family’s 13th-century chateau. (Athénaïs’ wines are fantastic, and will completely redefine your definition of Chablis.)
A bottle of effervescent, easy-drinking Marquette Piquette from Wild Arc’s Todd Cavallo in the Hudson Valley drinks with rustic dark fruit and zippy acidity. Not familiar with Piquette? It’s a low-alcohol, zero-waste wine-ish beverage made by upcycling the grape pomace (the leftover seeds, skins, and pulp that result after the juice has been pressed), adding water, and fermenting it into a fizzy, fresh beverage. Cavallo can be largely credited for the revival of the piquette movement.
Frank Cornelissen’s volcano-bred bottles need little introduction, and Patagonia has released his rosso—earthy, bright, clairet-style red—and a brooding, floral, mineral-driven rosato. All Cornelissen’s wines are grown on the foothills of an active Sicilian volcano. He prefers to age his wines in outdoor tanks or in terracotta amphora, buried in crushed volcanic rock.
Also present on Patagonia Provisions is bottles from Meinklang, an all-organic, family-run, biodiverse farm in Austria, and Kindeli, a New Zealand producer making expressive wines bottled largely by gravity and hand-sealed using recycled sugarcane corks.
“We’re so thrilled to bring together this group of vintners and producers for our initial collection of wines, ciders, and sake,” explains Cameron via email. “At Patagonia Provisions we really are all about bringing people together in a collective action, all moving in the same direction, and this collection of fermented beverages is a good example of that. All of these producers use restorative farming practices and low-intervention fermentation techniques. It truly embodies the Patagonia Provisions ethos and is one step closer in moving the industry forward — re-examining best practices in agriculture and in winemaking and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.”
Wines, ciders, and sake are available via Patagonia Provisions’ websites, and ship to most states.