In the past decade or so the debate between organic and genetically modified foods has been raging. On one hand you have those who argue for the organic side. They believe that every foodstuff that we eat should be grown entirely naturally, without using any manmade chemicals or fertilisers at any point during the production.
On the flipside you have those who come down on the side of genetically modified food. They argue that it may not be possible to produce the volume of food we require without a little help from science and that there is little difference between the two anyway.
Regardless of your train of thought, it can’t be denied that organic food is generally believed to be the healthier option of the two, should you be making a choice as an individual. The wine industry has also recognised this and there is a growing trend towards the development of various types of organic wine in an effort to satisfy the tastes of that ever-growing group of people who want as much of what they consume to be natural as possible.
But what if you’re new to the organic lifestyle, or you simply want to find out why so many people believe it to be the option? Here’s a short list of the benefits that organic food, and by extension organic wine, is believed to offer.
As crops have become increasingly genetically modified so that we can grow more of them at a faster pace, many argue that the natural taste of the ingredients suffer. With such an array of manmade chemicals being used as various stages of the process it is often argued that such interference tampers with the natural taste of the food and means that we can no longer enjoy them as they are meant to taste.
There is some credibility behind these arguments too. Gardening enthusiasts, especially those that subscribe to the square gardening philosophy or maintain their own allotments, will often argue that the crops that they grow for themselves simply taste better than the ones that they can get out of shops. Similarly, organic foods at the supermarket are reputed to be more enjoyable than the cheaper, GM brands. As such, if you are a true love of both food and wine, it is worth at least sampling the organic lifestyle to see if you notice a difference.
Tandem to the increasing popularity of organic foods has come an increasing demand to see the food industry better regulated to ensure that what we eat is actually good for us. In the organic market this is especially so. Organic foods have to go through a rigorous series of checks to ensure that they meet up to the various standards required by consumers and regulators.
Organic products, especially in Italy, are regulated by European Regulation 203/2012 that was published in the official journal of the EU March 9, 2012. This legislation also establishes the rules that organic wines must be made under to be considered truly organic.
The regulation states that total sulfur limits for organic red wines must not exceed a maximum of 100mg /l, while for dry white the maximum is 150mg /l. As for the actual wine making process that takes place in the cellar, producers are only permitted the use of oenological products and processes authorized by Regulation 203/2012.
Benefits to wildlife and the planet’s ecosystem
There are many trains of thought that contest that organic foods are simply better for the environment and allow for the natural evolution and maintenance of the planet’s ecosystem. After all, one of the main issues of contention with GM crops is the use of chemical pesticides to deter unwanted consumption of the foods being grown.
These pesticides either directly or indirectly lead to the death of a large number of insects and other pets. This means that there are fewer of these animals in their particular ecosystem, which in turn means that the animals that rely on them for food may begin to struggle to feed themselves. This cycle continues right up the food chain and, if left unchecked, can lead to the decline of the local ecosystem whenever a GM farm is nearby.
With organic farming this is generally not the case. As farming methods are natural this means that foodstuffs won’t be contaminated with such chemicals. While this certainly makes them more difficult to grow, it does allow for nature to flourish in tandem with the farming efforts.
Innovation in farming
It has to be said that a lack of reliance of man-made chemicals and fertilisers does make growing organic crops quite difficult. A lack of pesticides especially means that many organic farmers will have to contend with pests on a daily basis and undertake a variety of ever-more innovative measures to ensure that their crops survive to harvest.
This means that, contrary to what some will tell you, organic farming plays host to some of the most innovative farming methods currently known to man. Without the ability to rely on chemicals and other manmade substances to aid in the growth of crops, organic farmers have to look elsewhere for the things that can help them flourish. It’s science, just not the same as GM science.
Because of this, plenty of research has gone into replacing the chemicals that current farming methods use in abundance. While this has resulted in a variety of natural solutions, it has also highlighted issues that the current methods can cause.
Regardless of which side of the argument you fall on, the case is strong in the favour of organic foods, at least from a quality and environmental perspective. The wine industry is constantly evolving and with that evolution comes an array of new techniques that allow producers to craft even more wines. Who knows what organic wines may be available in years to come?