This is the first in a three part series to define and demystify the terms organic, sustainable, and biodynamic when it comes to wine. Misinformation in this topic is common, so we’re hoping to help bring some clarity to the issue. Following the three part series we’ll present several posts on the philosophy of ‘green’ wine and profiles of some of our favorite environmentally conscious producers. Enjoy!
The large majority of Organic wines are in fact made from Organically grown grapes but not vinified “organically.” The obstacle to organic winemaking is the prohibition of sulfur compounds in the winemaking process. For better or worse the addition of minute levels of sulfur dioxide at the end of the winemaking process is what keeps wines stable in the bottle long term. Not to add a few parts per million of SO2 when finishing your wine is to invite disaster in the cellar of the consumer.
Organic grape farming, however, is becoming widely popular as more and more winemakers have recognized that they simply get better fruit from the vineyards that are farmed organically than those that are farmed using conventional methods.
Organic certification, which is currently handled by a number of competing authorities, at its base requires the grower to demonstrate that they are working without chemical fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, and other synthetic chemicals. These wineries must demonstrate that the vineyards in question have been handled in accordance with these Organic prohibitions for between five and seven years before certification is possible.
The wines you will see here labeled Organic are made from organically farmed grapes. This list, however, is incomplete as we keep up with more and more of our wineries turning to organic farming … more are being added every day!
A sampling of our ORGANIC producers
Thirst quenching mineral reds and whites to slake the mightiest summer thirst
Nigl (all) Austria
“Among the absolute elite in Austria, and many observers wonder if there’s anyone finer.”
Barraud (all) France
“Daniel Barraud is without question one of the finest growers in all of the Mâconnais”
Allen Meadows, Burghound
Baumard (all) France
Have become the gold standard by which the critics now judge other wineries vintage in and out
Chateau de Beaucastel (all) France
None of Châteauneuf’s seventy-plus estates have garnered as many 90+ point scores, or as much purple prose
Hautes Noelles France
Aromatic and mineral whites and reds from granitic and schistose soils of the Loire Valley
Mas de Gourgonier (all) France
A mouthful of “garrigue” (rosemary, sage, lavender, olive, and cistes)
Perrin (all) France
Owners of Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, these people have wine flowing in their veins
Tour des Gendres (all) France
More Bergereac than Cyrano himself, the Famili de Conti bottle a taste of Southwest France itself
Frascole (all) Italy
Classic Chianti as the old world knew best would work wonders at the table; bright, balanced, supple and fragrant
Petrolo (all) Italy
Astounding Sangiovese wines as only Chianti’s fine galestro soils can foster
Saladini Pilastri, Rosso Piceno Italy
This astonishing value results from Count Saladini Pilastri’s family tending these limestone hills for three centuries
San Michele a Torri (all) Italy
A small Florentine gem straddling the Colli Fiorentini and Chianti Classico making world class wine
Santini (all) Italy
A true “garagiste,” what Wine Advocate described as “one of the most pleasant surprises of the entire Tuscan coast”
Schiopetto (all) Italy
“The most compelling tank-fermented and aged dry whites made in northeastern Italy” Robert Parker
Tablas Creek (all) USA
An American wonder -the closest it has ever been to the southern Rhone and worth all its admiration
Evesham Wood (all) USA
Breathtaking Pinot Noir from the Eola Hills of Oregon -if you adore Pinot Noir, these are compulsory drinking