There’s never been a better time to learn about organic wines and their kissing cousins, biodynamic, and sustainable wines – and why they’re important.
Why is the organic wine movement important: Grapes are some of the most heavily sprayed items and they have thin skins, so having a more “green” option is welcome! Also, we think of wine as something straight from the soil and vines and a somewhat more natural beverage than things like soda, cocktails, etc. But it’s surprising to learn how tampered with wine can be. These alternatives help assure us that our wine has a more direct connection from grape to glass.
image credit: Erin Hearts Court Photography
What do all these words mean? There seems to be some overlap and confusion between all the “green” words out there whether it’s with produce or wine. Let’s clear some of those up:
Sustainable: This is a term that unfortunately been abused by marketers so be aware. There’s no legal definition for this. But true sustainable farmers and winemakers try to create a product that’s been made in a way that allows the vineyard to continue to produce in a way that isn’t harmful for future generations and production. It’s a philosophy that minimizes soil erosion, depletion of soil nutrients, water pollution, etc. It’s a holistic approach. My favorite, the Unfiltered Merlot from Newton of Napa, California. It’s a deep, complex Merlot that puts the Sideways hemming and hawing to shame.
Organic: A wine that is labeled organic and has the USDA Organic Seal is made without chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers. My favorite example of an organic wine is the J. Palacios, “Petalos” from Bierzo, Spain. This wine evolves every few minutes, revealing layer after layer. It’s my current definition of perfection.
Biodynamic: I think of this as extreme organic. Follows same principles as organic wine but adds a whole
other layer. It’s a holistic approach to winemaking. Biodynamic farmers view the vineyard as a part of an entire system – animals, other crops, with emphasis on balance between all the elements. The whole “farm” or vineyard should be self-sustaining so there is a lot of composting and not using chemicals. It also involves farming according to a lunar calendar. One of the best biodynamic producers in the US is Montinore. Their Graham’s Block 7 Pinot Noir is a wine you could easily drink more than a glass of with it’s refined elegance and dark cherry and earth flavors.
[tags]organic, wine, eco living, eco friendly, environment[/tags]