Earth-friendly wine makes for good holiday option

The holiday season is time for hosting, toasting, and hoping. Why not do so with Earth-friendly wine?

Here’s a little bit about the wines carried at MOON Co-Op in Oxford:

The wines from California and overseas are generally not available elsewhere in this area. The store works with a distributor based in Columbus who specializes in finding wineries with strong social and environmental credentials and offering them only to shops built on a social purpose.

The Co-op’s best-selling brand comes from South Africa’s Stellar Winery. Varietals are sold with the Stellar label, and blends with the Live-a-Little label.

Stellar is the world’s first wine certified as Organic & Fair Trade by the International Fair Trade Certification. How that occurred makes a compelling story.

Under apartheid, all of South Africa’s wineries and vineyards were owned by whites, including Stellar. Despite the repeal of apartheid laws in 1991, little changed at first in the wineries and vineyards.

Willem Rossouw, a leader in South Africa’s Black Empowerment Initiative, and a close associate of Nelson Mandela, gained control of Stellar and reorganized it as a worker-owned co-op. Given that virtually all of the workers were Black, Stellar thus became South Africa’s first Black-owned winery.

One of the first steps taken by the workers after forming the co-op was to eliminate chemicals from the vineyards and wine. Stellar became one of the world’s leading producers of wine with no added sulfites.

According to the International Fair Trade Certification, since becoming a co-op, Stellar pays a living wage to its workforce, provides better working conditions, and invests in schools and recreation facilities.

Stellar’s co-op has set up health care for the workers and their families, organic vegetable gardens, solar energy for the winery and workers’ homes, daycare, training and school programs, and sports teams. The co-op acquired a bus to transport workers the several miles between their homes and the winery and vineyards.

Stellar’s especially impressive initiative has been programs to teach their children why their co-op is special. One example is construction of an educational vineyard next to the local elementary school.

MOON Co-op’s second most popular brand is Frey Vineyards, America’s first certified organic and biodynamic winery. Frey is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Mendocino County, California.

Like other organic approaches, biodynamic farming excludes the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on the soil and plants. Biodynamic farming also treats animals, crops, and soil as a single system, and relies on local breeds and varieties. Some biodynamics involve planting and sowing according to an astrological calendar.

A third option for Earth-friendly wine is to choose local, thus saving the carbon imprint of shipping from far away. MOON Co-op carries two local wines.

Hanover Winery, Butler County’s only winery, was opened in 2009 by Eddie & Elizabeth (Scheffel) McDonald a few miles south of Oxford on Morman Road. Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and Winery was opened in 2016 by Mark Zdobinski and Jim Meeks in an 1890 schoolhouse north of Eaton.

Earth-friendly wines are available at MOON Co-op, Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. See it online at

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