Is Organic Wine Better For You? : Food network | Food Network Healthy Eats: recipes, ideas and culinary news


The Environmental Working Group ranks grapes 3rd on the Dirty Dozen list due to the high level of pesticide residues found on conventionally grown grapes. For example, the non-profit, non-partisan consumer advocacy organization encourages buyers to buy organically grown grapes as a healthier alternative. Grapes are also, of course, the main ingredient in wine. So the question is, how important is it that your wine is also organic? Are pesticides the only consideration when making this decision? What are the additional benefits of buying organic wines? And most importantly: how does organic wine differ in taste? We posed the questions to two experts – Joe Campanale, Executive Beverage Director of Epicurean Management, the team behind dell’anima focused on wine in New York, L’Artusi, L’Apicio and Anfora, and the owner of The Wine & Spirits Scott Pactor Appellation – to help you make an informed decision on your next night out on the town or while visiting the local wine merchant.

Why is so much attention paid to sulfur dioxide when it comes to determining whether or not a wine is organic?

Joe Campanale: Sulfur dioxide is a natural part of the winemaking process; it is a by-product of fermentation. As such, every wine, organic or not, contains some level of sulfur dioxide. However, most winemakers will add extra SO2 to wine at different stages because it is an antioxidant and antibacterial, depending on the country where the wine is produced – most places allow 160 parts per million for them. reds and 200 ppm for whites. Organic regulations still allow the addition of sulfur, but at lower levels. Large production wine tends to have a lot more sulfur than artisanal wine, and all wines have a lot less than dried fruits.

Is there a difference between biodynamic wine and organic wine?

JC: Biodynamic and organic wine avoids agrochemicals in the production and winemaking process. Biodynamics refers to a type of viticulture based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and considers the vineyard as its own ecosystem depending on its environment and the phases of the sun, moon and stars. As such, all biodynamic wines are organic, but not all organic wines are biodynamic. A moot point here is that some people think that unless you are certified by one of the regulatory bodies, you shouldn’t be able to say that you make wine that way. However, many people choose not to be certified for a variety of reasons. .

Is organic wine production becoming more or less important?

JC: Of course more important. I think the biggest change is that ten years ago it was very important to stand out if you made organic wine. Now there are so many people growing organically that this is no longer a talking point.

Is there an advantage to buying and consuming organic wine over conventional?

JC: I believe organic wines are better for the planet, better for you, and can taste more distinctive. So I would say yes, but with a big caveat: not all organic wines are great. You must always be a very talented and hardworking winemaker and winemaker who has a very sweet touch in the cellar.

Do you serve a lot of organic wines in your restaurants?

JC: Most of the wines we serve in the restaurants are organic. I spend a lot of time tasting, always trying to find the best in each category. It often turns out that the best wine is either organic or made in a very sustainable way.

How is your store different from conventional wine merchants?

Scott Pactor: At the time of opening 10 years ago in September, and until now we are focusing on organic and biodynamic wine. We have evolved to better understand over the years that if the work in the vineyard is important, the work in the cellar is also. We are now asking winegrowers about cellar work with regard to winemaking and fermentation.

How do you define biodynamic wine for your customers?

SP: I see it as ‘bio plus’ or a practical approach to organic farming. We try to demystify it because there are aspects that may seem hocus pocus-esque. We focus on the parts that seem less abstract. Some of the preparations include things like using chamomile tea, horsetail or yarrow in the wine making process. Each plays a different role in the way in which it values ​​the vineyard and photosynthesis. Chamomile helps their digestion. The idea is that it’s good for the body – you can drink it to soothe an upset stomach – and also good for the soil. It’s a lot of trial and error.

What are the most creative approaches that winegrowers have tried?

SP: A Champagne producer, Bertrand Gautherot de Vouette et Sorbée, told me he played music in his vineyard to help slow down the vegetation. But what he found was that it had the opposite effect and the vines began to grow faster. In his words, “The grapes have become too happy.”

And the taste? How does the biological process affect taste?

SP: The use of sulfur can calm the effect of wine. When you have wines with no added sulfur, they can be very expressive.

What makes organic or biodynamic wine better?

SP: There are several reasons. # 1 would be that the grapes are necessarily washed before fermentation begins, so you can’t get any chemical residue on the grapes. Studies have been carried out and wines from organic farming have much less residue than those from conventional farming. You can correlate that organic wine is healthier for you.

The n ° 2 is the work in the vineyard. If you are growing with fewer inputs, then workers are exposed to fewer chemicals.

Third, the health of the soil is less impaired. Whether it is the life in the soil or the animals that live in and around the vineyard, all aspects are affected by the chemicals and the amounts applied.

Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Cordon Bleu Paris and holds a Masters in Food Studies from New York University where she is currently an Assistant Professor. When her schedule allows, she organizes culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently working on her first book.


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