How organic vineyards do things differently
Organic wine is more than a pesticide-free product; it's a front runner in the sustainable and organic movement. With innovative farming practices and thoughtful cultivation techniques, organic vineyards are producing some of the tastiest, most complex and notable bottles of wine around.
Of course, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides are used for good reasons—they reduce the incidence of pests and disease, leading to greater grape yields. This means that an organic winery may need to work harder and still produce fewer grapes, so it can be difficult to find a good selection of organic wine. However, the number of benefits that organic wine brings, coupled with a growing interest in organic produce, makes it easier than ever to choose organic over its chemically cultivated cousin.
Benefits of Organic Wine
Although the lack of chemical pesticides and fertilizers leads to a smaller crop, the flavor of the grapes certainly doesn't suffer. In fact, the natural flavor of the fruit shines through much more than it does in most conventionally produced wines, and you can rest assured that you'll be consuming a healthier product that's untainted by harsh chemicals or added sulfites.
Organic wine production brings a host of long-term advantages, as well. For instance, cultivation techniques help to preserve the land by improving the soil over the seasons—using natural fertilizer, compost and organic pest control instead of chemicals protects the abundance of natural allies in the soil and keeps it rich with nutrients. Additionally, the means by which the wines are harvested, fermented and stored must be entirely organic, free of artificial additives. All of this intensive effort, manual labor and attention to purity combine to ensure nutritious soil, a flavorful product and a healthier experience for you.
How to Buy Organic Wine
Recognizing organic wine can be harder than you imagine, as only a small fraction of wineries are able to register their wines as organic. Registration and inspection fees can be high, and some producers simply don't agree with the government's standards. This leads a number of wineries to label their products as natural or made from organic grapes, and while these are appealing qualities, they do not indicate the exceptionally pure product that qualifies as organic or biodynamic.
A great way to find an organic red wine or organic white wine is to visit an organic vineyard, but this is often an impractical approach, especially if you don't live near wine country. Instead, look online for wine merchants or wineries that will sell directly to you; you will be able to access a great selection along with some helpful reviews of specific wines.