The rise of organic wine, and organic foods in general, has come at a time when people are becoming increasingly concerned with what they are eating as part of their diets. In particular, many are worried about the many chemicals that are used in the growing of various types of foods these days and the health implications such chemical use can have on humans over the long term.
This concern has turned into a visceral reaction in which many people now favour organically produced food that doesn’t make use of chemical-based fertilisers, pesticides and other aspects of modern farming that have become increasingly commonplace since the 1950s.
As such, the growth of the organic foods industry has become so important that many supermarkets now offer such foods in their own separate sections so that people have a clear choice in regards to what they buy.
The same can be said in regards to the Italian wine industry. While organic wine is by no means a new product, having been a part of the wine industry in one way or another since at least the 1980s, it is only in the last few years that such products have started to achieve a considerable measure of popularity.
So what is behind this rise in popularity? There are a number of factors that have allowed the organic wine industry to grow to the size it is today and not all are factors that are within the control of the average winemaker.
A Connection to Nature
The world at large is so much more aware of the damage that humanity is doing on an environmental and ecological scale than it was even as little as two decades ago. The spectre of global warming looms large over the current generation and most European nations have agreements in place to hit various targets relating to the environment over the next few years.
This increased concern about the planet has also given rise to an increased concern about the food we produce and the impact that it has on both humans and the planet at large. With the population of the planet growing to hitherto unheard of proportions, the issue of growing enough food for people has become paramount. While this had been remedied over the last few decades through the use of chemically enhanced fertilisers and other methods that favour production over quality, in recent years there has been something of a change in consumer desires.
Part of the issue comes from the fact that such man-made additives affect the quality of the food being produced, as previously mentioned. Older people will be able to tell you that the food that they eat now doesn’t taste like the food they ate in their youth, and this is more than nostalgia speaking. The simple fact is that most food today simply does not contain the nutrients that it would if it was grown completely naturally. The organic movement is aiming to change that as far as possible.
The Health Ramifications
There is no escaping the fact that many who choose to live an organic lifestyle make the argument that eating non-organic foods can lead to long term health issues. Simply put, the facts appear to back such statements up and provide even more reason to give organic foods a try.
Issues, such as pesticide residue collecting on vegetables or the simple lack of nutrients in food that has been chemically enhanced, can have plenty of negative effects on a person’s body. Even though none of these effects is immediate, they do build up over time and often lead to undesirable chemicals finding their way into the bloodstream.
On the flipside, going organic removes all of the issues associated with the use of chemicals to assist in the growth of vegetables and other crops, while also ensuring the results contain much more natural nutrients that would otherwise be available.
This in turn also improves the quality of the vegetable, as mentioned, but also ensures that consumers don’t have to worry about how eating the produce will affect them ten or twenty years down the line.
We touched upon it above, but it bears repeating in more detail as well. Organic foods are generally of a higher quality than their non-organic counterparts, with many placing the blame at the door of the chemicals used in the growth of non-organic foods.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that non-organic food is not of the quality required to really provide the nutritional benefits that people need. It’s gotten to the point where some argue that the famous idiom about eating five pieces of fruit or vegetables a day should be altered to double, or even triple, that number due to the fact that vegetables have decreased in quality over time.
With the organic movement customers get a guarantee that the product they receive has been grown completely naturally and only contains what it should contain. This also means that products made using the produce, such as organic wines, should theoretically see an improvement in quality as well.
Granted, the produce that comes from organic farming may not be perfect in the visceral form. Vegetables and fruits may be misshapen and not as uniform as we have come to expect them to be. However, they will always be natural, which supplants the odd requirement to have them look exactly as we have been told they must look.
This trifecta of issues has combined to lead to an increased level of popularity for organic foods and organic wines in general. The increasing concern for the environment and the effect modern farming methodologies have on it, coupled with a desire for healthier and better food, has seen a boom period that may even see the organic industry replace the GM-based industry over time.
For now, we encourage everybody who hasn’t tried an organic wine to give it a crack. Many of the most prestigious winemakers in Italy now make their own organic products and are quickly discovering that the level of quality achieved can match up to their other vintages.