With the growing international trend towards environmentalism and the efforts to try to preserve the soil and increase the quality of the food that is produced using it in many territories, it is perhaps unsurprising that organic wine has been experiencing something of a boom in popularity in recent years.
This increase has been so marked that it has led to organic wines advancing from being something that was often avoided by the wine drinking community into something that is actively sought out by many connoisseurs. It is perhaps unsurprising to note that this boom in popularity has also gone hand in hand with the fact that today’s organic wines are now of a quality that levels, and in some cases surpasses, that of more traditionally made wines.
So what is it about organic wine that has got so many lovers of the great drink excited? Here we examine some of the reasons why organic wine has experienced such a growth in popularity and why it is likely that it is not only here to stay but may eventually become the standard, rather than the exception, when it comes to Italian wine making.
What is Organic Wine?
Before we look at the reasons why organic wine may be the right choice for you it is important to examine exactly what it is that sets these vintages apart from their brethren.
Organic wine, and organic foods in general, are so-called because they are made with absolutely no man-made chemicals. This means that the likes of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are eradicated from the growing process, as each of these has the potential to introduce toxins into the eventual product that many speculate could cause harm to humans upon consumption.
Furthermore, winemakers must also ensure that they only use naturally made fertilisers, rather than those that rely on chemicals to achieve enhanced growth. With all of these factors in place the grapes produced can then be deemed as organic and can be used to create certified organic wines.
As mentioned, there has been a trend towards organically produced foods and produce in recent years, with many carrying the organic label as something of a badge of honour that separates the product from everything else that is available on the shelves. This means that it is also extremely important to ensure that production is regulated so that only products that are truly organic can use the label, as it has become something of a marketing tool in recent years.
This is why regulations are now in place in Italy and many other wine-producing countries that lay down the law in regards to what can be considered as organic and what isn’t. Those wishing to create organic wine must follow these regulations from planting right through to harvesting. They even cover the techniques that are used in the fermentation process! These regulations act in much the same way as the DOC regulations that determine what a wine can be classified as and must be followed as stringently if the wine is to receive the organic label.
So Why Organic Wine?
There are a myriad of reasons as to why organic wine has increased in popularity over recent years. Perhaps the most important is the effect growing organically has on the environment as a whole. With less reliance on chemical-based products, fewer harmful chemicals wind up in the atmosphere, which in turn improves the quality of life of all around us.
Furthermore, fewer man-made chemicals also means a better quality of soil and, as anybody involved in viniculture will be able to tell you, the quality of the soil used in the production of grapes is extremely important when it comes to the overall quality of the grape that is produced. The poorer the soil, the poorer the grape. This obviously has an effect on the wine that is produced, which is why so many producers are placing a renewed focus on organic production. With better soil they can create better wines, which not only benefits their consumers but also benefits the company as a whole.
On another level there is also a certain level of pride to be taken from going organic. While any would balk at the idea of expressing pride over a life-choice, it has to be said that there is nothing wrong with being proud about the choice you have made, especially if they are believed to be actively helping the environment and preserving it for those of future generations.
Moving away from the more environmental issue though, there is still plenty of reason to go organic. For one, as organic grapes are grown without the use of chemicals, the wines that they produce are considered by many to be healthier than other wines. This is because there are fewer in the way of man-made toxins that can pollute the wine, which in turn means that everything that you consume is completely natural. Ingesting less in the way of pesticide residues or sulphur dioxide is a definite benefit for the health-conscious drinker.
Sulphur dioxide in particular is something of an interesting chemical and the lack of it in organic wines has a more immediate benefit in addition to the long-term health factors. Simply put, a lack of sulphur dioxide in the wine generally means the drinker will not suffer from hangovers the morning after. While this may not be an issue for some, especially those who drink responsibly, should you happen to get carried away with a good bottle or two then drinking organic will ensure that you don’t have to suffer for it after the fact.
Finally we come to the most important factor of all for wine lovers – taste. Grapes that are grown organically maintain all of the natural goodness that is often tampered with, and in many cases, diluted, by the use of synthetic chemicals. This increased quality ensures that more nutrients are present in the grape and the taste is truly beyond anything that is grown using man-made chemicals. If nothing else, this is reason enough for those who have yet to try organic wine to put it to the test.