Organic Wine – Once You Feel It, You’ll Never Leave It
You know the titles. Best organic wine brands, best affordable organic wines, 27 reasons why you should be drinking organic wines, the ultimate organic wine guide. It’s not all crap, but…
Not to be confused, if it’s not organic wine it doesn’t mean it is inorganic or unnatural, if, of course, organic is “natural”. But it never necessarily means biodynamic, so it is conventional wine against non-interventionist or hands-free winemaking, right? Quite simple, really.
Is sulphur-free wine something to be sought for, then? Sure, if you want to be one of those people insisting on gluten-free bread only to open a cold beer with it. We have a famous folk singer in Croatia whose intolerance to wine is as famous as his songs. Poor man, if only he wasn’t so sensitive to all that sulphur, he could enjoy his wine like the rest of us. Altogether.
You Think You Know What Organic Wine Truly Is?
Jokes aside, the official definition says that organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming, which excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
But you can use all sorts of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides as long as they are certified “organic”. This is actually a notable effort. However, all that stuff might be of organic origin but chemically produced on an industrial scale nevertheless.
And “organic” wine is all about grapes being chemically free of anything. Naturally, you do not want to degrade such fruit in the cellar, so you use very few if any synthetic materials in the winemaking process. Hence the “non-interventionist” winemaking, despite the fact that without human intervention wine wouldn’t be possible.
Although most organic certifications demand it to a certain extent, to make organic wine you are not necessarily obliged to ferment on native yeast, for example, or not to filter your wine.
Still, many wine consumers are asking for a “sulphur-free” wine or a certified organic wine.
But all of them are deceived. For another thing was left unspoken. Biodiversity… When you don’t have to use almost anything to preserve your vineyard.
Why Is Biodiversity Important?
A prerequisite for true organic farming and the production of organic wine lies not in the sulphur content, but in something far more important. Biodiversity is a balanced ecosystem of every living thing, plants, bacteria, animals, and humans. For example, you have an insect that eats a smaller insect that feeds on some fungus, and that fungus feeds on a certain bacterium that attacks the first insect from this food chain used as an illustration.
Does anyone believe biodiversity is God-given in monovarietal plantations?
Think of a shepherd in the highlands who hasn’t been graced by our modern society, where he lives seemingly very poor by our definition, but will offer you the healthiest food you’ve ever tasted for free. It is also full of flavor and your body craves it.
That is the difference between processed food and true nutrition.
You can possess as much money as you could possibly accumulate, but such nutrition is practically unavailable in the modern world, and that shepherd does not hold any certificate.
Can You Recognize the Difference Between Processed Food and True Nutrition?
This is similar to the concept of organic wine. Many technically organic growers don’t care about being certified for various reasons. One of them being that they don’t want the certification to be the commercial criterion for buying their wines. From that perspective, every certification is not just about proper labeling of a product, but it is also very much a marketing tool. And their effort should not be consumed as a status symbol but as a way of life. In short, you should be enjoying the wine because you recognize its worth, because you crave its unique taste and nutritional value, not because it is certified.
Sadly, not too many places are suitable for organic farming today, which doesn’t discourage many growers from pursuing the organic certificate. And that also brings us to the notion of “terroir”. Another important word based on real value, but often misused as a sales promotion tool. Terroir wines is another rabbit hole we will be tumbling down soon 😉