What Is Organic Wine
Wine, no doubt is one of the world's most loved beverages. You could say that wine is one of life's simple joys. As you may be aware, the organic food market is growing every year. There's also a variety of organic wines now available. Although some organic wines come with a higher price tag as do most organic goods, they do come with increased health benefits. When we're consuming so much wine, you would think that we know what wines are best for our health. Here is a list of pros and cons of organic wines vs. traditional wines.
1. Organic wines are produced with organic grapes. Any food that is being organically grown must follow a strict criteria. Organic foods must be certified before they can be labeled "organic". Traditional wines are grown with grapes that are usually heavily sprayed with pesticides. Organic wineries do not add flavors such as oak chips to their wines, and use very basic wine making techniques that involves yeast for fermentation. Some traditional wines may be labeled "made with organic grapes", this means that 70% of their grapes come from organic sources. So it is important when choosing the best wine for your health that you read your labels carefully.
2. Organic wines are not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides and tend to have greater health benefits, and brighter flavors. When you buy organic wine you are doing more then buying a healthier wine. You are helping change the way you live in the future. Organic wine has a bolder flavor.
3. Organic wines contain less sulfites then traditional wines. Sulfites are a salts or sulfurous acids that occur naturally in many wines. It is vary rare to find a wine that does not have sulfites. Added sulfites are generally used for preservation of wines. 100% Organic wines are made with no added sulfites. The less sulfites a wine contains, the healthier it will be for your body.
Red wine is the only vice some health-conscious people will permit themselves—after all, since the early '90s, the elixir has been touted as a health food. Studies continue to prove that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, protects against cancer, heart disease, is anti-aging and may even extend your lifespan. There may be a few surprises hiding under the cork, however. Incidental ingredients like pesticides, allergens and animal proteins may be contaminating your wine.
The Environmental Working Group cited imported grapes as the ninth worst offender on their Dirty Dozen list. Pesticides were detected on 86 percent of the imported grapes they surveyed, and 77 percent of grapes were contaminated with two or more pesticides. Closer to home, most California wine grape growers rely on chemicals: Almost 21 million pounds of pesticides were applied on California grapes in 2003 according to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN).
Sulfites, an allergen that may cause breathing problems in sensitive individuals, are another common consumer concern. Although sulfite or sulfur dioxide (SO2) is commonly added to wine as a preservative, antimicrobial agent and antioxidant, sulfites naturally occur in wine as a by-product of fermentation. The label will indicate “Contains Sulfites” if the total sulphites in a wine are above 10 parts per million. A wine labelled “Sulfite-Free” or “NSA” (for “No Sulfites Added”) must not have any detectable sulfites.
Another potential source of gluten found in wine derives from the oak barrels. The paste used to make oak barrels contains wheat flour (a source of gluten). Aging wine in oak barrels or adding oak chips can leave traces of wheat and gluten in your wine in addition to tannins.
The best way to avoid these concerns and enjoy the benefits of resveratrol is to purchase organic wine. According to the Organic Consumer Organization, organic foods may have up to 30 percent more cancer-fighting antioxidants than non-organic foods. This is true for wine as well—organic wines average 32 percent higher resveratrol levels than conventional wines.
Organic wine often means wine made from organically grown grapes, but does not necessarily exclude the use of sulfites or incidental ingredients used in the processing or fermentation of wine. For a wine to be labeled “Organic” and carry the USDA organic seal, it must be made from organically grown grapes and provide information about third party certification.
Look also for a “Sulfite-Free” or “NSA” label when purchasing organic wine, as wine labeled “Made with Organically Grown Grapes” must be made from organic grapes may or may not contain added sulfites.
For additional information about organic certification in the US as well as globally, see Organic Wine Certifications.
Keep in mind that organic, sulfite-free wines are less stable than wines with added sulfites, so they’re best consumed within two to three years. Read the full article
Twice on the cover of TIME magazine, author of 10 books and noted naturalpathic physician, Andrew Weil, M.D. has become "The voice of reason in a deeply divided world," according to the San Francisco Examiner., has this to say regarding organic wine: "Wines produced under organic standards are becoming more and more available, and some are excellent. Many people who buy and eat only organically grown fruits and vegetables often don't consider that the grapes grown to make wine might be sprayed with the same pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides used on other conventionally grown crops."
"I enjoy an occasional glass of wine and mostly drink organic vintages. I have found excellent ones from France, Chile, Argentina, and the U.S." Read the full article at Dr Weil's website
Drinking wine in moderation is beneficial to your overall health. Many studies have shown that drinking one glass of wine a day can decrease your chances of heart disease. Organic wine provides you with all of the benefits that a traditional wine would give, without harmful pesticides."Organic wine is also produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations", says the USDA. Additional information about organic wine is available at the Organic Consumers Association.
As organic wine sales continue to increase, our selection of organic wines will too!
Taking it further: Certified Sustainable
This program, which emphasizes environmentally sound growing methods, such as biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), shows growers how to cultivate grapes with more character, flavors and aromas with the goal of making better, genuinely distinctive wines.
Biodynamics is the highest level of organic farming. Developed in the 1920's, Biodynamics views the vineyard as a single organism. With this approach, eliminating synthetic chemicals is just the beginning. Biodynamics goes further, encouraging biodiversity, a closed nutrient system, the use of homeopathic teas and a close personal connection to the land.
Through Biodynamic farming, the best of what the land possesses is reflected in the characteristics of every bottle. Benziger Winery leads the way in Biodynamics in the US and have illustrated their system in this graphic.
More about Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine can be found at the Organic Wine Journal