Organic Wines

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The other day, my best friend called me on behalf of another friend to find out if there were organic wines and where one could find them.  I’ll admit that I asked a stupid question in return, because he was calling me about where to find them (my question was that didn’t the person know where to find them himself).


Organic wines in a nutshell are those that are made from organically grown grapes, and to achieve that, the land cannot have had any artificial (chemical) additives such as pesticides, herbicides or such used on it within a certain amount of years.  Once a winery gains an organic certification, they try to keep it, as the use of one such agent would roll back the certification and it would take several others years to achieve it again.


For the most part, some producers agree that grapes grown organically lend a better flavor to the wine, as well as pick up more characteristics from the soul (terroir) and can be less expensive to produce.


For a while, organic wines got a bad rap simply because some of the first entrants in that category where not the best tasting, as well as some things such as wild yeasts can impart some rather “interesting” attributes to wine that not everyone.


There are several types of wine that are considered organic in the United States, and different countries have different classifications for it as well.  Here, there is something call 100% Organic that has the seal of the USDA.  In this model, everything is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and monitored through the whole production process.  Only naturally occurring sulfites can be present and they have to be less than one hundred parts per million.  “Organic” in itself must be made of 95% organically grown ingredients. 


There is also what’s called biodynamic wines which are in a nutshell, producing using, of course, biodynamic methods.  To many of you, it would look the either the hippies or the druids have taken to making wines in this fashion as some of the methods use compost, or something put in something else, and then applied somewhere else.  Actually sounds a lot like witchcraft.


Now with all of that said, there are some wonderful organic wines out there, from companies and/or labels like Santa Julia, Frey Vineyards, Bonterra, Frog’s Leap, Benziger and Grgich Hills.


I’ve had the Santa Julia, Bontera and some things from Frey.  I can tell you that organic wines are a step in the right direction on many different aspects.  But I can also tell you that there is nothing like having something with wild yeasts in it, it’s kind of primal!


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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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