Organic wine isn’t all hype, apparently

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The term “organic” has been so overused in our culture that it has become a nebulous indicator of virtue and kindness more than anything else. There is an organic version of everything from kale to condoms, so it’s safe to say this is an enduring trend. But technically, claiming something is organic has to be backed by substantial metric. For example, the USDA will label some organic produce if pesticides were not used to grow them. But when it comes to natural and organic wines – which have a moment – what’s the story? Are they better for us and the environment or just part of that halo of well-being that we are so determined to acquire?

What exactly is organic wine?

To be clear, “natural” and “organic” mean slightly different things when it comes to wine – and the two terms are often used interchangeably. “Labeling a wine ‘organic’ or ‘biodynamic’ requires following a long list of rules and paying for the certification; calling it ‘natural’ is simply doing a general claim of virtue,“as Rachel Monroe put it so well in the New Yorker. Many wines can be called “natural” if they produce their wine more consciously. But being labeled as “organic” takes a little more effort.

“For a wine to be organic, it must comply with the rules of the National Organic Program,” says Daniel Ward, associate professor of plant biology and director of the New Jersey Center for Wine Research and Education at Rutgers University. USDA apparently creates these guidelines, ensure that “the national and international marketing of organically produced fresh and processed foods” “meet consistent and uniform standards”. These guidelines are comprehensive – as War and peace thorough, so at the end of the day there is a governing body that does the quality control.

To use the term “organic,” wine must be grown according to USDA criteria. The materials and ingredients involved cannot be synthetic or manufactured. room adds that the production of grapes and the production of wine from grapes involve separate certification processes.

Ward also tells me that to be considered organic, the process of turning grapes into wine must follow certified practices. Grapes grown for wine must be free of all non-organic matter for at least three years. The vineyard land takes a long time to remove additives and fertilizers naturally, so a vineyard that grows inorganic Riesling today may be organic by 2024. And for many wine growers, it might be worth it. wait.

Is organic wine healthier for me?

The answer to this question lies mainly in an additive: sulfites. A large part of wine production, sulfites are a food preservative widely used in winemaking because they have the unique ability to maintain the flavor and freshness of wine.

Although they are present in many foods and drinks, they are particularly associated with a long list of side effects related to the familiar hangover caused by cabernet. Red wine headaches are often attributed to histamine intolerance, which is similar to an allergy, and can occur more quickly than other alcohol-induced hangovers, which are mainly due to the dehydration. Although, deliciously, these two evils can occur in tandem.

Basically, sulfites keep your bottle from turning into vinegar before it’s bought or tasted, and while appreciated, they’re not needed these days to keep fresher wines safe if you take the right precautions. . “Depending on the distribution methods,” says Ward, “you may need to protect the wine for shorter or longer periods at different temperatures and situations that are beyond your control.”

Since organic foods are more desirable is undoubtedly status related, but the increased demand for these artificial preservative-free foods has a solid scientific basis. The Conservatives, as you have no doubt understood, are not good for us.

Is organic wine better for the environment?

Organic wine is very welcome, a good step forward for the continuity of our world, Ward tells me. With this brand new administration doing good deeds like joining the Paris climate accord and slowing the construction of nature-ruining pipelines, there is going to be a resurgence of interest in what unnecessarily harms our planet. over the next four years. Organic winemaking ideally supports our buzz while sending fewer pesticides, fertilizers, and other inorganic chemicals into the soil.

“I think people want to participate in a society and an economy that takes care of the environment and preserves it for future generations – and doesn’t inadvertently cause more problems than necessary,” says Ward. .

Is it generally more expensive?

Organic food is generally too expensive. We know it. It costs more to be socially aware, oddly. There’s a lot to be said about the fact that organic farming is also elitist and racially exclusive, but I’ll save that for another article.

Organic wine, from what I see, doesn’t seem much more expensive than its counterpart in the non-organic section. My personal choices for natural wines are Lambrusco Rosso and Cameron Diaz’s new venture, Avaline (red, white or sparkling), which is made from organic grapes.

Ward believes that because organic wines aim to reduce risk to the body and the environment, they will be around for a while. Hey, if the wine tastes great and makes my hangover go down a notch, pour it.


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