“Organic Wine” is legally defined in the United States as a wine made from organically grown grapes to which no sulfur dioxide (S02) has been added. Since S02 has many important functions in the winery that involve keeping the wine clean and maintaining its condition through an unknown length of time in warehouses and on restaurant and retail racks, making wine without it can be a gamble. Organic farming relies on the conservation of soil and water as well as the elimination of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Natural ingredients are used for composting, fertilizing, and fighting problems. Additionally, genetically modified crops are prohibited.
“Biodynamic” viticulture recognizes that the soil is a living organism that must be kept healthy and that the continued use of chemicals will eventually deplete the soil of all life. Farming this way is a holistic approach to the estate.
There are four main principles used in biodynamic viticulture:
- Respect the rhythm and balance of nature and farm according to a biodynamic calendar.
- Soil health is encouraged with the use of only natural fertilizer treatments—no artificial products can be used.
- A diverse population of habitats is encouraged.
- All organic waste is reintroduced to the vineyard.
“Sustainable” is a term that is unregulated, and has little to do with organic grape production. This usually means that the winery may use environmentally responsible practices, such as using recycled materials, etc.
“Vegan” refers to the fact that no animal derived products are used in the fining or clarification of the wines. Most USDA certified organic wines are vegan, and state that on the label.
Some other facts:
- Many people wonder about the shelf-life of true organic wines, since they have no added preservatives. Red wines typically last up to 5 years, white wines 2 to 3 years.
- Organic wines are just as variable as mainstream wines. Depending on the region and winemaker, each wine expresses different characteristics, so if the consumer prefers wines from California, they would most likely prefer organic wines from that region, as well.
- Some people have adverse reactions to the herbicides, pesticides and insecticides- often in the form of rashes. These chemicals have also have an adverse impact on the environment.
- Insecticides, etc., are stored in the fatty tissues, and do build up, and are known to cause cancer. Some veterinarians have used the term “cide cancer” as they are seeing an increase in pets with cancer caused by the “cides” used on lawns.
- Synthetic sulfites are considered an air pollutant, and carry significant warnings on the containers.
It is exciting that there are more and more organic wines in the market place, so the consumer can enjoy pure wine!
Here are just a few of the organic & biodynamic wines available in our store:
Buenas Ondas Malbec-Syrah
Our Daily Red
Pacific Redwood Pinot Noir
Stellar Organic Merlot
Stellar Organic Cabernet Sauvignon
Badger Mountain Riesling