As a vegetarian who prefers to eat and drink organic, natural foods and beverages, I believe it should be easy and accessible for others to do the same. For years I've dedicated my life to sharing tips, projects and recipes for living greener, with the goal of helping others who want to learn how to live sustainably and healthfully without sacrificing the things they love.
Here are four reasons buying organic wine is a great choice:
1. When you choose organic, you won't be drinking pesticide.
Don’t be discouraged by less flashy labels; organic winemakers spend less time on the labels and more time producing a natural product.
Conventionally made wines have zero regulations as far as pesticide control, sprays, practices, and fining agents go — they can spray what they want, whenever they want. A bottle of conventionally produced wine can contain up to 250 different types of chemicals; on the flip side, organic wines are made with grapes from farms and vineyards that have refrained from using herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds for at least three years.
Organic wines have the goal of creating healthier, more nutrient-filled soils that contain a diverse mixture of natural microorganisms — these soils promote sturdier vines that are naturally better able to resist disease and produce better fruit. Since organically grown grapes come from healthier soils, the wines tend to be brighter and have a purer expression of fruit — in other words, not only are they better for the land, but tastier, too!
2. Organic wines have fewer additives.
Although only 1% of the population is actually allergic to sulfites, you can be confident that organic wines will contain much lower levels of any unnatural additives.
Organic wines often have much lower amounts of added sulfites than nonorganic wines. All wines have naturally occurring sulfites, and in low amounts, they aren't detectable. Sulfites are sometimes responsible for triggering an allergic reaction that causes headaches in a very small amount of the population.
You might also notice the label, “Certified Organic." These are wines that will have even lower amounts of sulfites and additives. Keep in mind these wines might come at a higher price tag.
For U.S. wines, look for the term “Made with Organically Grown Grapes” on the label — this term ensures that the winery has been officially certified by the USDA and no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides were used in the making of the wines. Wines labeled “Certified Organic” use similar practices but are not allowed to add any sulfur to the finished wines (very small amounts of sulfur are often added to stabilize a wine and prevent undesirable bacteria and yeast growth).
3. Organic winemakers are more likely to be eco-friendly.
In addition to organic farming practices, many winemakers also take care to implement a range of green initiatives. This isn’t often on the label, so it requires some research to find out what kinds of sustainable practices are in place, but they have a huge influence on the overall environmental impact of running a winery.
I recommend checking out the winery’s website and looking for key words such as "carbon neutral," "solar powered," "carbon footprint" and "toxic-free" to determine if they are following green practices. Otherwise, pick up the phone and give them a call! A winery who is truly utilizing green practices should be happy to educate their consumers.
For example, for my new line of wines, Philosophy Wine, our partner winery in Northern California is carbon neutral, they recycle/reclaim 100% of the water they use, utilize solar energy, and use lighter bottles made of domestic glass whenever possible.
4. When you go organic, you help the environment.
By changing your preference of wine to organic, you are supporting the producers who are making a conscious effort to better our environment.
One of my main philosophies is that if everybody can do just one simple thing, each day, that has a small positive impact on the environment, collectively we can all make a huge difference. Living sustainably shouldn’t be a burden, and it doesn’t have to be. Unscrewing a bottle of organic wine is just one easy, and fun, way to do this. And as organic wines start growing in popularity, more and more farmers will follow suit and implement organic and sustainable vineyard practices, which will have a huge impact on the land and soils for future generations.