As consumers realise more and more what is truly in our food, the return to traditional ways of doing things becomes increasingly popular. One thing that many people are now becoming more aware of is how many chemicals and sprays touch our food before it ever reaches our mouths. That’s why organic food and drinks are becoming more widespread and easier to find – customers are now demanding organic products.
Among these, organic wine is one of the most in-demand organic items right now. When you think about all the pesticides and other chemicals that get sprayed on the grapes that get made into wine, it can make that refreshing glass of Pinot Gris hard to stomach. If you choose organic wine instead, then you can rest assured that your drink is all natural.
Many people get confused about the definition of organic wine. It doesn’t mean that your wine may not have additives. Yeast must still be added to create the wines that we know and love, such as a classic Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Organic wines are simply produced using organically grown grapes.
Winemakers must use the principles of organic farming for their wines to be certified as officially organic. This is a drastic change in the way of doing things, making it extremely challenging for existing winemakers to make the switch from their existing practices.
When growing and maintaining grapevines, farmers must have a technique to keep the bugs and weeds at bay. Organic farmers must find a way to do so without synthetic or artificial chemicals. Instead, they boost the biodiversity of the vineyard to create optimal growing conditions. Techniques can include covering crops to protect them from insects and having sheep graze the grass between the rows to get rid of the weeds. Wildflowers may be planted to attract bees to pollinate the vines. Organic wines require a vineyard that has a natural and self-regulating ecosystem where bugs and weeds are naturally kept from harming the grapes. This then rids the vineyard of the need for toxic chemicals.
So, do organic wines taste better than other types of wine? The answer, according to recent research, is a resounding yes. After the review of thousands of scores from leading critics of numerous wines, those which were ‘eco-certified’ came out on top. They not only had higher average rankings, but they also received more positive comments from reviewers.
It should be no surprise that organic wines taste better than those layered with pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals. Just as a berry grown in your own backyard tastes better than store-bought because you didn’t spray it with a load of chemicals, so do wines.
This notion of organic wine, however, is not new. There has even been an organic wine fair around for nearly thirty years - Millésime Bio. Over a thousand producers attend each year, along with thousands upon thousands of visitors. While the attendees are mainly French, the word about organic wine is rapidly spreading, and people are attending from all sorts of places. The US, Canada, Belgium, and Germany are all represented at the wine festival as well.
The French market for organic wine increased by around a volume of 16.8% from 2012 to 2017 and still continues to rise. With New Zealand being another large worldwide wine producer, it’s time for more wineries to jump on board. Organic wines are not a trend but a changed way of doing things that’s better for the planet and our palates. Seeing wineries as a fully functioning ecosystem is great for reducing our impact on the earth. Plus, it just tastes good.