Monday, April 19, 2010

Organic Wine

I've been asked on a few occasions to write about organic wines.  Well, here are a few notes that may be helpful.

Organic wine is wine that bears the USDA organic seal.  It must be made from grapes that are grown organically and give information about the certifying agency. It cannot contain any sulfites, although it may have some naturally occurring sulfites.  Wines grown with organic grapes but not considered organic wine, on the other hand, can contain added sulfites. Keep in mind it is difficult to have no sulfites in wine since it is a byproduct of fermentation. There are three basic categories to look for:
  • 100% Organic (wines made with 100% certified grapes), 
  • Organic (wines that have at least 95% of ingredients from organic sources), 
  • Made with Organic Grapes (wine that is, at least, 70% organic).  
 The second and third categories of  wine can contain added sulfites. 

Why drink organic wine?  

Well, unfortunately, grapes are one of the most sprayed crops grown.  Many wine lovers are interested in finding alternatives to conventional wines.  Organic wines may be healthier, more flavorful, have greater local (terroir) character and sometimes may be less expensive.  It is certainly worth the effort to try some organic wines to see what you think.  For starters you can try wine from some of the following producers: may be a place to start. They offer some interesting buys and seem committed to the organic process.

Benziger Family Winery is a California based winery that has for over thirty years used biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods to produce their wine.

The Organic Wine Company offers a sophisticated and intelligent site that is both educational and consumer oriented. You can order wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, California, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. It's worth the visit.

Organic Wine Press attempts to make shopping for organic wines simple and easy. They offer organic wines from around the world. The wines are all Organic and No Spray. Gift baskets can also be ordered. 

There are many, many more organic wine alternatives. I've only listed a few that may be good starting points for you.

For those of you who want to read about organic wines and issues pertaining to them the Organic Wine Journal may be just up your alley. The Journal offers wide ranging articles about organic wines, wine growing and other issues focused on the organic wine experience.

In the end, don't neglect the fact that wine tasting is for pleasure. Whether the wines are organic or conventional, drink those that you like. Don't sacrifice taste for ideology. I'm sure you will find a good organic wine if you take the time to look. Fortunately, today's market supports a very wide range of accessible organic wines. 

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