Organic wines are made of grapes that are grown without synthetic/artificial pesticides or herbicides.
If you’ve never tasted organic wine before, then you owe it to yourself to try it.
And if you already drink organic wine, then you owe it even more to try something new.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about organic wine.
What is Organic Wine?
Organic wine is made from grapes that are grown in accordance with certified organic agricultural standards. This means that the grapes are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides.
For example, instead of chemical fertilizers, organic compost is used. Instead of chemical pesticides, natural pesticides, or predators such as ladybirds and hawks!
The way wine is considered organic is different based on where you are. There are different labeling guidelines in the US and in Europe for organic wines.
Here are details of how wine can be labeled if it’s organically farmed –
In the USA, the wine with a 100% Organic USDA label is required to have naturally occurring sulfites in a concentration less than 100 parts per million (ppm).
While in Europe and Canada, there there is no limit on the concentration of the sulfites in the wine to be called organic – they just need to be produced from organic grapes, that’s all.
In the USA, organic wine is a wine that has 95% organically grown ingredients. The sulfite requirement is the same as that of 100% organic ones.
What are sulfites?
Sulfites are a naturally occurring compound found in wines.
They are also added during the winemaking process to help preserve the wine and prevent spoilage.
Sulfur dioxide is added to wine bottles as a preservative. It helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, and it also helps to preserve the flavor and aroma of the wine.
The issue with the USDA-certified 100% organic wines is they do not allow the addition of sulfites, which not only reduces their shelf life but also alters their taste.
Know more about sulfites and their health impact here –
What are Non-Organic Wines and are they Bad?
Non-organic wine is made from grapes that have been grown using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
The use of these chemicals can lead to higher concentrations of unhealthy compounds in the finished product.
Some of these chemicals have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer. Even at low levels, these chemicals can accumulate in the body and cause long-term health effects.
How to Identify A Genuine Organic Wine
There are several certification programs that are trustworthy and you can look out for their seal of approval on the wines.
USDA National Organic Program
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program under the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).
The NOP is managed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and provides consistent national standards for organic agriculture, ensuring that products advertised as “organic” meet strict scientific and legal requirements.
The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (private, international, and State organizations that certify organic producers and processors) who inspect organic operations and certify that they are in compliance with USDA standards.
SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified program
The SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified program is a comprehensive, third-party certification program that verifies a winery’s commitment to sustainable wine-growing practices.
The program encompasses all aspects of sustainability, from grape growing and water use to energy efficiency and waste reduction.
The SIP Certified logo is an internationally recognized symbol of sustainability and provides consumers with assurance that the wine they are buying has been produced using sound environmental and social practices.
The program is also a valuable marketing tool for wineries, helping them to differentiate their wines in a crowded marketplace.
To become SIP Certified, wineries must undergo a rigorous audit by an independent certification body. The audit covers all aspects of the winery’s operations, from vineyard management to cellar practices.
Wineries must demonstrate that they are complying with all relevant laws and regulations and that they have implemented sustainable practices in all areas of their business.
Once certified, wineries must maintain their commitment to sustainable practices and undergo regular audits to ensure they continue to meet the highest standards.
Demeter USA (part of Biodynamic Demeter Alliance)
Demeter USA is a certification and labeling program for farmers and food producers who meet certain standards for sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.
The standards are set by the International Demeter Association, of which Demeter USA is a member. Products that carry the Demeter label have been certified to meet these standards.
The standards cover a range of environmental and social factors, including soil health, water conservation, energy use, waste management, and labor practices.
Farmers and food producers who meet the standards can use the Demeter label on their products to show consumers that they are committed to sustainable practices.
The Demeter label is one of several labels that can be used to indicate that a product is environmentally friendly or sustainably produced.
Other similar labels include the USDA Organic label and the Fair Trade Certified label.
Soil Association Organic
Soil Association Organic is a UK-based charity that promotes and certifies organic food and farming.
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists, and environmentalists.
The Soil Association certification logo is a guarantee that a product has been produced to the highest possible organic standards.
NAPA Green is a voluntary sustainable winegrowing certification program designed to measure, document, and communicate continual improvement in winegrowing practices that protect and enhance our environment.
Eligible winegrowers include all those farming vineyards within the Napa Valley Viticultural Area boundaries.
Most of the wines available are not organic wines, but if you plan to have genuine organic wines, then you need to choose the ones which are certified by reputed agencies.
Do share this with your friends and family who love wine!