Organic Wine: Is It Really a Thing?
Ever since its creation as early as 7000 BC, wine has been a product that is constantly evolving. From its country of origin, to the types of grapes used, to the barrels it is fermented in, wine is something with lots of nuances to it, some of these things have become important aspects of the wine industry, others are simply trends. The newest trend of organic wine has sparked lots of controversy. Is it possible to have such a thing as organic wine, or is it just a selling point meant to cater to the rise in popularity of organic foods? Short answer: It depends.
When investigating the actuality of organic wine, it’s important to look at its country of origin. In the United States, the standards for what constitutes as organic wine differs from those of Europe and Canada. The United States does not allow for wines with added sulfites to be labeled as organic, however Canada and Europe allow for added sulfites. If you’re unfamiliar with the wine-making process, not allowing for added sulfites can change the flavor of the final product as well as shorten its shelf life considerably. Being labeled as organic does not mean there are no other additives, however. It simply ensures the use of organically grown grapes, whether sulfites are present or not. If this is the case and the wine can be negatively affected by the lack of sulfites, what’s the point in making it in the first place?
When it comes to wine, despite the fact that it is alcoholic, the toxins from pesticides are not eliminated once the drink is fermented. The goal of organic wine is to eliminate these toxins and make for an overall healthier alternative to traditional wine, which can contain various levels of pesticides that have the potential for negative health effects.
Fear not, though, as the American wine industry has adapted to the sulfite-free policy. While a wine may not be able to be labeled as organic, look for companies that make wine with organically grown grapes. Wines that use organic grapes also typically have a lower sulfite content, although they are likely still going to be present to some capacity. Brands such as CalNaturale, Domaine Carneros, and Tikal Natural are wines that utilize organically grown grapes, but still add sulfites during their bottling process to ensure a better taste and shelf life.
If you are searching for a truly organic wine, there are options for that as well, just know that the taste and shelf life may be different from your typical bottle of wine and buy accordingly. Badger Mountain, Paul Dolan Vineyards, and Hall Wines all make certified organic wines of different varieties.
Ultimately, your choice in wine is all up to personal preference. While organic wine may be better for you, sulfites are not inherently dangerous, and thus buying wine with organically grown grapes is also a viable option for those who are just looking to avoid the use of pesticides and fungicides in the things they eat and drink.