What’s Hot — Organic Wine

organic wineYou may have seen the organic shelves in your grocery store growing by leaps and bounds, and the same thing has happened with organic wines. Organics are no longer just for aging hippies!

The American certifying bodies make organics and wine  a bit complicated, so you’ll need a short course on the subject.

First, a wine label may read “Made from Organically Grown Grapes.” That means what it seems to mean (no pesticides or artificial fertilizers in the vineyards). This label makes no claims about what may or may not have been used in the winemaking process (such as sulfur compounds). We like Chile’s Natura Winery for good quality organically grown wines at a value price (around $12).  Red Truck’s Green Truck Organically Grown line is a new, reasonably-priced entry from California.

You could also see one of three levels pertaining to the whole winemaking process. Sustainable means that the vineyards and entire winery observed practices designed to minimize the carbon footprint and to keep the vineyards as free as possible from artificial  stuff. (They may have used sulfur compounds in the process, because they’re still the best way to sterilize and stabilize wine and winemaking equipment).

An Organic Wine will have organically grown grapes and an organic process, which usually means that sulfites will not have been used. If you have a true sulfite allergy (which usually gives you an asthmatic-typre reaction), this is the level you should be looking for. Frey Vineyards in California has been making good organic wines for years.

Biodynamic is an even stricter standard, which requires all of the above and also uses some metaphysical practices, such as planting and harvesting only at certain phases of the moon.These tend to be the priciest of the three levels, starting in the mid-$20s and going up from there. But you’ll get a great bottle for a reasonable price from Sonoma’s Benziger Family Vineyards, which has always been a leader in this field.

If all you want is a good bottle of wine that has a minimum of  chemical components, just look for “Made from Organically Grown Grapes” on the label. You can find these from $10 up, and we’ll review some soon.

Stay healthy, and cheers!

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