5 Distinctions That Set Organic Wines Apart

There are key differences in production and growth that set organic wine apart from its non-organic counterpart

Orga­nic” is a bit of a buzz­word the­se days. From gro­cers to clothing sto­res and cos­me­tic pro­du­cers, the desire to expe­rien­ce the natu­rally made dif­fe­ren­ce has infu­sed all aspects of every­day life. Pur­cha­sing orga­nic pro­ducts can be healthier and more ethi­cal – it’s good for the mind, the body, and the pla­net. When it comes to indul­ging in one of the fore­most plea­su­res of life – what’s on the din­ner table – there’s no bet­ter choi­ce than orga­nic wine. Once con­si­de­red a bit of an elu­si­ve liba­tion, orga­nic wine is now not only readily acces­si­ble, but it can also be sur­pri­singly affor­da­ble. Con­si­der it a reaso­na­ble luxury that doesn’t have to be reser­ved for a spe­cial occa­sion.

If you’ve never enjo­yed a glass of orga­nic wine befo­re or had the plea­su­re of stro­lling an orga­nic vine­yard, you might be won­de­ring – what’s in a name? What exactly makes orga­nic wine, orga­nic? Here, we’ll take a look at five key cha­rac­te­ris­tics that defi­ne orga­nic wine.

Organic wine contains no harmful chemicals

First and fore­most, no synthe­tic pes­ti­ci­des, her­bi­ci­des, or fer­ti­li­zers have been used to make orga­nic wine. This applies to every sta­ge of the wine’s pro­duc­tion, from the grape’s growth to the final refresh­ment that is pou­red into your glass. This means no synthe­tic pes­ti­ci­des, her­bi­ci­des, or fer­ti­li­zers are used at the vine­yard. Ins­tead, weeds are pulled by hand, or using mecha­ni­cal equip­ment, and the natu­ral envi­ron­ment does all the work to crea­te a fresh bounty.

This orga­nic pro­cess really pre­ser­ves the gra­pes’ health and qua­lity, which trans­la­tes into the richer fla­vor, typi­city, and expres­sion of the wines. By con­trast, non-orga­nic wines are made from gra­pes which were spra­yed with pes­ti­ci­des to poi­son insects, and che­mi­cals to com­bat disea­ses. Once the wines are ela­bo­ra­ted, sul­fi­tes are gene­rally added to sta­bi­li­ze the wine during fer­men­ta­tion and extend the bottle’s shelf life. 

In most coun­tries, wines made with orga­ni­cally grown gra­pes, but that still con­tains some sul­fi­tes, are con­si­de­red orga­nic. The Uni­ted Sta­tes is uni­que in that it makes the dis­tin­ction bet­ween “wines made with orga­ni­cally grown gra­pes” which con­tain some sul­fi­tes and “orga­nic wines” which don’t con­tain added sul­fi­tes. It is impor­tant to note that wines that are cer­ti­fied “made with orga­nic gra­pes” con­tain half the sul­fi­tes or less than wines made with con­ven­tio­nally grown gra­pes. This is a requi­re­ment to obtain the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion “made with orga­ni­cally grown gra­pes.”

Truly organic wine is certified

Dis­cer­ning wine lovers eager to tas­te the orga­ni­cally grown dif­fe­ren­ce should take care to look out for frauds. Some wine­ma­kers may use lan­gua­ge in their adver­ti­sing that gives the idea of orga­nic pro­duc­tion – terms such as “natu­ral,” “fresh,” “healthy, “thought­fully-made” – but truly orga­nic wine is cer­ti­fied orga­nic. Look for cer­ti­fied orga­nic labels, such as “USDA Orga­nic,” “SIP Cer­ti­fied,” and “made with cer­ti­fied orga­ni­cally grown gra­pes,” and don’t be afraid to ask.

Organic wine production is better for vineyard workers

In 2015, the family of a decea­sed vine­yard wor­ker sued his emplo­yer after he pas­sed away from can­cer lin­ked to the use of pes­ti­ci­des. This cau­sed an outcry over an issue that had long been pla­guing vine­yard wor­kers: safety con­cern over pro­lon­ged expo­su­re to che­mi­cals. Far­mers that pro­du­ce non-orga­nic wine are expo­sed to various synthe­tic pes­ti­ci­des. Toxic effects from pes­ti­ci­de expo­su­re ran­ge from aller­gic reac­tions to strong hea­da­ches and nau­sea and even con­vul­sions and death. 

This tra­gedy and others can be pre­ven­ted by using orga­nic methods of cul­ti­va­tion. Given that orga­nic wine relies on gra­pes that are grown without the­se dan­ge­rous che­mi­cals, the­se vine­yards are much bet­ter for emplo­yees’ health.

Organic wine better preserves the quality of the soil

The qua­lity of orga­nic wine goes beyond the gra­pes them­sel­ves; it is a part of the very soil the vines are roo­ted in. The reason for this is sim­ple: becau­se orga­nic gra­pes are pro­du­ced without the use of harm­ful che­mi­cals, the soil is also able to remain in its most natu­ral sta­te. The­re­fo­re, the soil at an orga­nic vine­yard has a healthy level of micro­bial acti­vity. This in turn leads to healthier vines, which pro­du­ce bet­ter tas­ting gra­pes. The end result is in the supe­rior fla­vor of the wine. The har­mo­nious rela­tionship bet­ween the soil, plants, and the pro­duct is one of the most excep­tio­nal qua­li­ties of orga­nic wine. 

Organic wine is not always vegan, and vegan wine is not always organic

In many indus­tries, the terms “orga­nic” and “vegan” are used inter­chan­geably. Howe­ver, they are sel­dom synony­mous. This is true in the case of wine­ma­king, whe­re orga­nic wine is not always vegan, and vegan wine is not always orga­nic.

The terms refer to sepa­ra­te, but in the opi­nion of many con­su­mers, equally impor­tant facets of thought­ful wine pro­duc­tion. So what makes wine vegan? Often­ti­mes, it comes down to the use of eggs – yes, belie­ve it or not, eggs can be used to pro­du­ce wine.

It is actually the egg whi­te, also refe­rred to as the albu­men, that is used to cla­rify and sta­bi­li­ze the wine. The egg whi­te con­tains pro­teins that can sof­ten tan­nins, crea­ting a less aci­dic and less bit­ter fla­vor. Though vegan wine made in this way does not retain the fla­vor of the egg, its use makes a wine non-vegan. Plant-based indi­vi­duals who care about adhe­ring to this lifesty­le should ensu­re that the orga­nic wine they pur­cha­se is also vegan. 

Domai­ne Bous­quet, loca­ted in Men­do­za, Argen­ti­na, is the first Argen­ti­nean winery to add its own import com­pany to the Uni­ted Sta­tes. Our wine is cer­ti­fied orga­nic – made with orga­nic gra­pes – vegan, sus­tai­na­ble, and fair tra­de. Here, we focus on pre­ser­ving a grape’s high-qua­lity cha­rac­te­ris­tics, which is why gentle hand­ling of the fruit is the gui­ding prin­ci­ple of our winery. Our vine­yard is bac­ked by four gene­ra­tions of wine­ma­king tra­di­tion and is held in high esteem as one of the top 15 Argen­ti­nean wine­ries. Brow­se and enjoy our selec­tion.

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