To be classed as organic, the grapes used to make the wine must be officially certified as being organic. To have grapes certified as organic, they must be grown in an environment that doesn’t use any herbicides, synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilisers or fungicide. Regulations must be strictly adhered to, so you can be confident in any bottle of wine that is now labelled as being organic. Every process is strictly regulated, from the field to the bottling process.
When you choose organic wine, you’re choosing the healthier option. When synthetic pesticides and the like are used, they end up in your bottle, so when these are not used in the production of the wine, the wine contains less toxins so the end product is better for you. Additionally, there will be less of the wine preservative that is sulphur dioxide.
By drinking organic wine, you are increasing demand for organically grown produce. When fruit and vegetables are grown organically, the soil isn’t being filled with toxic chemicals. Chemicals in the soil can easily get into the water system, so drink organic and you’re looking after the environment. Helping to protect the planet for future generations.
When wine makers create a wine, if they don’t have to stick to the strict regulations to enable them to be certified organic, then a wide range of other chemicals can be added. Chemicals to enhance the flavour and the feel of the wine in your mouth as you drink it. So, they can create a mediocre wine, then add chemicals to make it tastier. Organic wine growers don’t have this luxury, so they have to focus on creating a wine that is tasty to begin with. The end product will be of a high quality without having to have potentially toxic chemicals added, because of course, if the wine they produced didn’t taste good, people would soon stop buying it and the wine makers would soon go out of business. So creating naturally delicious wines is top priority for organic wine makers.
Non-organic wines often have dye added to improve the colour. Sometimes, a batch of red wine may be absolutely delicious to taste, but the colour isn’t the rich red we’ve come to expect from a wine. Just like we expect our carrots to be a bright orange colour, we expect our red wine to be a deep burgundy like Malbec. While the wine may be really nice to taste, and would pass any blind taste test with flying colours, we tend to eat with our other senses too. We want our food and drink to smell appetizing and we want it to look inviting too. That’s why, if a batch of wine isn’t the perfect colour, they will add in dye to enhance the colour and make it look the way the customer expects it to look. Ever drunk a glass of red wine and found it stains your lips or teeth purple? That is the artificial dye. People will tell you that the darker the red wine, the better it is for your health. Naturally, there may be some truth in this, but in reality, unless the wine is certified organic, and you know there has been no dye added, you could well be drinking wine that has simply been coloured to look the part.
It’s all done for the benefit of the consumer. Experiments show that give a person a glass of white wine that is coloured yellow, and they will rate it higher on taste than a glass of wine that has been coloured blue. Even though they are drinking exactly the same wine. It’s all about expectations. Organic wine growers have to ensure that their wine looks good naturally as they are not allowed to add any artificial dyes to their product.
Velcorin is a pretty nasty chemical. It also goes by the name of dimethydicarbonate or DMDC and it’s incredibly toxic. It’s used in making wine during the fermentation process to get rid of bacteria that can grow in the wine. Wine that contains bacteria can taste and smell odd, of course no one wants to drink wine that doesn’t taste and smell right, so wine producers add velcorin to get rid of the bacteria. The problem with velcorin is that when you consume it in large amounts, it can cause some serious health problems. It can lead to breathing difficulties, it can make you cough, it can cause your skin to burn, blister or come out in a rash, it can even cause permanent damage to your eyesight! Now it must be noted that organic wine can legally have velcorin added to it, although it’s use is highly regulated, so by picking organic wine, you’ve got less chance of having high levels of velcorin in your wine. However, if you want to ensure there is no velcorin added to your wine then you need to choose a natural wine. With natural wine making, there are no additives in the wine whatsoever.
It sounds like a myth, but it is actually true, you don’t get such a bad hangover if you overindulge on organic wine, than if you drank the same amount of non-organic wine. Why is this? Well, for one thing, organic wine is nearly always a little lower in alcohol than non-organic wine, so if you drink a bottle of organic wine, you’re having somewhat less alcohol than if you’d drunk an ordinary bottle of wine. But that’s not all. One of the key reasons why you don’t suffer so much the next day after drinking organic wine is because it contains less sulphur dioxide than other wines. There will always be some sulphur dioxide in your wine as it is produced naturally when grape skins ferment, however, when wine is being made, and it is not being made organically, to the strict regulations, sulphur dioxide is often added in quite large quantities. It is added to the wine because it is good at destroying bacteria and getting rid of unwanted yeasts in the product. The problem with sulphur dioxide, is that it is the main reason why you get a hangover! So cutting down on the sulphur dioxide, cuts down on the hangover symptoms too! Some people are allergic to sulphur and this can be problematic if they also enjoy a glass of wine. Many people with a sulphur allergy find that they are okay when they drink organic wines and their symptoms don’t flare up.
The popularity of organic wines is growing, but it is growing slowly. With all the benefits of organic wines, it’s important to ensure that organic wine producers stay in business and keep producing these wines that are healthier and better for the environment. Any business needs to make sales to keep in business, and if organic wine doesn’t become more popular, many organic wine producers may be forced to go back to making non-organic wines. Production of organic wines is more expensive and labour intensive than producing ordinary wines, so that’s why your bottle of organic wine may be a little more expensive than some other wines on the shelf, however, the benefits far outweigh any slight increase in the price. So support the organic vineyards and wine producers and always pick organic wines when you’re shopping for a nice bottle of wine.
Vegans don’t need to miss out on a nice glass of wine, there are also organic wines that are suitable for vegans. They may be a little tricky to find, but once you find a supplier, you can buy a case and stock up. Just don’t be tempted to drink it all at once!
Organic wine producers are hard working and dedicated to their job, but one organic Champagne producer has taken things a step further. He started to play music in the vineyard, hoping it would slow the growth of the vines. It actually had the opposite effect, and the vines grew even faster! He declared that ‘The grapes became too happy’. So if you have a fruit tree or a vegetable patch in your garden, you may want to give this a try, play music to your marrows and sing to your squashes, you might get a fantastic harvest, and probably some odd looks from your neighbours too!