You’ve likely seen an increase in the number of organic Italian wines on offer in recent years. A lot of producers are switching to more natural production methods for several reasons. Of course, the growing trend towards organic foods is a major one. There’s a niche in the market and savvy Italian wine producers want to ensure they’re serving it.
However, there are other reasons why a producer may go organic. Land preservation is key because organic farming methods are safer for the soil due to not using man-made chemicals. Many producers also prefer going down the organic route because it allows them to create wines that are true representations of their land.
So, it’s clear there are plenty of reasons why more producers are going organic.
The question is why should you?
Is there any benefit to drinking organic Italian wines compared to regular wines? And what makes organic wines so different in the first place? These are the questions we’ll answer in this article.
What Is Organic Italian Wine?
The difference between organic and traditional Italian wines comes down to two key components:
- Farming methods
Starting with farming, a wine can only be organic if the grapes used to make it are grown in a way that does not make use of man-made chemicals. These include pesticides, fertilizers, and any other chemicals designed to protect or enhance the growth of the crops. Many people contend that these chemicals alter the makeup of the land used to grow the vines. Some also believe that the chemicals find their way into the grapes, altering their taste and potentially making them unsafe for consumption.
With production, we have to think about the additives used for making the wine.
Many additives are fine for organic wine production, with yeast being the main one. This is a natural material, meaning it’s okay to use. That’s a good thing too seeing as yeast is vital to the process of turning grape juice into alcohol. It consumes natural sugars and creates the alcohol that makes wines what they are.
However, some additives aren’t natural.
These include sulphites, which many producers add to their wines as a preservative. Organic wines won’t contain this chemical.
To wrap up this description, think of organic Italian wines as any that are made using all-natural methods and substances. It’s also important to note that a wine does not need to be vegetarian to be organic, or vice-versa.
Why Should You Think About Trying Organic Wines?
There are many reasons to consider drinking organic Italian wines ahead of traditional ones. Some of these come down to personal safety, whereas others are related to how true of a representation the wine is of the land that it comes from.
Reason No. 1 – No Chemicals
As we alluded to earlier, many traditional winemakers use an array of man-made pesticides and fertilizers when growing their crops. There are many good reasons for this. Pests can utterly destroy a crop, meaning the winemaker has nothing to make their products with. Fertilizers help crops to grow quicker and, in some cases, produce a stronger yield.
The problem is that these products contain chemicals that may find their way into the wine you drink. Though this does not occur to dangerous levels, the possibility of ingesting unnatural chemicals is enough to make some people want to explore organic options.
Reason No. 2 – A True Experience of the Land
The intrusion of man-made chemicals into the producer’s land changes the makeup of the soil used to grow the grapes needed for wine production. While this can have an ecological impact, especially if the chemicals get into natural water supplies, that’s not your main concern as a potential organic wine drinker.
Instead, you may be more worried about how non-organic production methods affect the taste of your Italian wine.
Now, nobody is claiming that non-organic methods make wine taste bad. Most wines aren’t made organically and they taste amazing. The bone of contention here is that some believe organic methods offer a truer representation of the terroir than non-organic methods. Organic is “purer”, in a sense, which may make it preferable to traditionalists who want as little intrusion from modern methods as possible in their wines.
Reason No. 3 – Moral Reasons
We touched on the ecological impact that non-organic production methods can have.
The most obvious example of this is that pesticides kill various types of animals. In addition to ridding the ecosystem of small volumes of these animals, these deaths can affect other animals that may feed on the pests. It’s possible that killing pests has a knock-on effect that results in the death of many other animals.
Then, there is the environmental impact on the land to consider.
Man-made chemicals getting into natural water supplies and soils could affect animals that rely on these sources for their food. It’s also possible that some chemicals can cause such extensive damage that it reduces the longevity of the soil. Some producers argue that switching to organic production allows them to preserve their land so they can use it for many more years to come.
Reason No. 4 – More Nutrition
Some early research suggests that organic food products are more nutritionally valuable than non-organic ones. For example, one 2017 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that plants lose up to 20% of their antioxidant content when non-organic methods are used.
Going organic may be an opportunity for you to enjoy greater nutritional benefits from your wine. However, more research is needed to determine the impact that organic production methods have on Italian wine.
The Final Word
Should you go organic?
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Despite the health benefits that proponents of organic foods and wines highlight, there’s little evidence to suggest that non-organic foods are actively harmful to your health. The traditional wines you know and love don’t suddenly need to go onto a no-drink list any time in the near future.
But if you’d like to discover what the world of organic Italian wine has to offer, Xtrawine is here to help. We maintain an extensive collection of organic wines that offer you the most natural products the Italian wine industry has to offer.
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