Is Organic Wine Better or Worse?
Organic labels on wine are no guarantee for better quality or even best eco-practices. Because 'organic' has become a magic word, many top-notch wineries have decided they can't live without organic wine production. Some are investing top dollar into new organic operations, which will allow them to flaunt the magic word on their labels. Some don't bother to tell anyone.
So the question remains, how can you pick a wine that is good for the planet without compromising on taste? More than anything, understanding organic wine labels and the terms related to organic production will help your decision.
There are fore main claims you may come across on organic wine bottles: '100 percent organic wine', 'made from organically grown grapes', 'sustainably farmed wine', and 'biodynamic wine'.
Types of Organic Wine
1) 100 percent Organic Wine
'100 percent organic wine' means the wine has been made from grapes grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. It was also turned into wine without the addition of any kind of non-organic material.
2) Made from Organically Grown Grapes
Based on the above definition you might already guess that wines 'made from organically grown grapes' are produced from grapes from organic farms, but are probably made into wine in a process that the government would consider less than entirely organic.
3) Sustainably Farmed Wine and Biodynamic Wine
The categories of 'sustainably farmed wine' and 'biodynamic wine' are not regulated by the federal government in any way. What we are left with in these two classifications is non-profit certification bodies assuring us that winemakers claiming a high level of sustainability in their processes are actually using recycled material, solar power, composting, and other low footprint measures to protect the Earth.
Biodynamic farming also likes to build their reputation around mystical practices such as using homeopathic preparations to harness the planet's natural energy and planning harvest in sync with lunar cycles.
How Organic Wine is Made in the New World
Many serious winemakers think they get the best results by reaching back to old world European practices that were largely naturally organic. They avoid chemicals and the modern-day use of Bentonite clay used to remove any sediment possibly clouding the nectar. The one reason why many wineries that are largely eco-conscious don't rate as organic is that they use sulphur, a traditional non-organic additive going back to Roman times.
Is Organic Wine Better or Worse?
Some winemakers, afraid that their products could be mistaken for some low-quality plonk, carefully avoid any reference to the fact that their wine is actually organically produced. In reality, words like organic or biodynamic are not to be feared. You can find many excellent organic wines out there as long as you stick to winemakers with an established name.
Some high-quality organic wines include: Amity Pinot Noir, Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Zinfandel, Soquoia Grove and Fort Ross Pinot Noir.
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