WHY BUY ORGANIC?

The Top 5 Reasons

#1 - Organic wines taste better

Taste is certainly a matter of personal perspective. Research studies, however, have shown that organic wines receive high ratings from trusted critics and from consumers as well.

Research conducted by Prof. Magali Delmas, an environmental economist at UCLA, found that wines made with organically grown grapes rate higher, using a widely-accepted ranking, than wines made with conventionally grown grapes. Regarding her study, Delmas was quoted in Science Daily: “Wine made with organically grown grapes is higher quality,” Delmas said. “Growers have to devote more time and attention and take better care of organically certified vines than conventional vines, and our results show that these efforts are apparent in the product.” Delmas and her research team studied 13,426 wines from 1,495 California wineries. Vintages ranged from 1998 to 2005, and more than 30 varietals and 25 appellations were represented.

A Stanford study by Prof. Michael Hannan found that vintages produced under guidelines associated with strict labels were more likely to receive higher ratings from consumers and critics than those that weren’t. in Robert Parker’s 2008 ratings of Alsace wines, for instance, six of the top ten producers (those rated “exceptional”) were biodynamic and two were organic. Of those ranked “excellent,” five were biodynamic and three organic. The researchers studied 3,545 wines from 96 wineries in the Alsace region of France. In their final analysis, looking at dry Alsatian white wines from 1981 through 2008, the researchers concluded that wines made by biodynamic vintners received higher critical ratings than those not certified as such — whether they were tasted blind or with the labels showing. Formal certification increased the ratings when the taster could see the producer.

And finally, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, a Burgundy wine that is the most expensive in the world, is produced organically.

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#2 - Pesticides

Grapes certified organic are grown without synthetic fertilizers and in a way that protects the environment and preserves the soil. Pesticides, fungicides or herbicides sprayed in the fields where grapes are grown are poisons that can remain in small amounts in your wine long after it is placed in the bottle.  Read our pesticide fact sheet for details.

#3 - Fewer or no additives

Organic wine is made without using chemicals that would harm the planet or be dangerous to your health, according to standards set by the USDA National Organic Program or NOP. Genetic engineering of ingredients is also not allowed.

Organic wine undergoes the same rigorous requirements of USDA organic certification as other organic products throughout its production cycle, from vineyard to bottle.

The certification process is overseen by the NOP and it also it has to meet the requirements of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, especially for sulfite labeling requirements.

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#4 - Support Family Farms

According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are 14,000 to 16,000 vineyards in the US. Fewer than 300 of those are growing certified-organic wine grapes, according to the 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey produced by the USDA. In the US market, the majority of wine market share in 2011 was concentrated among just three mega-producers selling conventionally-produced wine. Together, the three producers account for more than 50% of all wine produced in the US.

When you buy organic, you are supporting small, family farms.

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#5 - Informative Labeling

Organic winemakers support your right to informative labeling and transparency about the wine cultivation and wine making process, from vineyard to bottle. To maintain their organic certification, the facilities and processes of organic winemakers are inspected by compliance organizations like the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and must remain in compliance with the National Organic Program. Organizations like CCOF require the winemaker to disclose what goes into the wine and the processes that create it. Winemakers like Frey Vineyards and La Rocca post the facts of how their wine is made on their websites.