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Organic Wine

Less powerful hangovers, fewer chemicals, and kinder to the environment???

 

When people talk about organic wine, what they usually mean is wine made from organically grown grapes. The distinction is important because wines can be made from organically grown grapes in a variety of ways.

An organic wine is a wine made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. To keep the weeds and bugs at bay, organic farmers work with nature, rather than against it, by boosting their vineyard’s biodiversity. For example, they introduce cover crops to provide a habitat for beneficial insects that are the natural enemy of problem species, or have small sheep graze between the vine rows, eating the grass and weeds. In this way, the vineyard becomes a self-regulating, natural ecosystem, which is able to combat problems intrinsically and eliminates the need for artificial, and potentially toxic, chemicals.

Nowadays, you will no doubt find many examples of organic wines appearing on the wine list of your favourite small bar or bottle shop shelf, but to be sure that the wine you are drinking is truly organic, it must be certified. Certification is provided by an independent third-party organisation, which carries out annual audits on vineyards that have applied for organic certification, to ensure that the grapes that they grow comply with the strict standards of both the particular certifying body and the department of agriculture. It is against the law for a wine producer to sell or promote their wine as organic if it is not certified.

For a wine to be labeled "Organic" and bear the USDA organic seal, it must be made from organically grown grapes and give information about who the certifying agency is. A wine in this category cannot have any added sulfites. It may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million.

According to the law, all organic claims must be stated on the label so you have to read labels carefully to know what is in the bottle. Also, be careful of the way that stores advertise and shelf the various wines. It may not be the same as what the bottle labels state.

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