Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list). Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries.
Photo: Brandon Laufenberg / Istock
By Karen Berner
You don't have to be a devout oenophile to appreciate wines that have been produced organically and by clean farming methods. Here's a short list for choosing wines for $25 and under that were either made with sustainably or organically grown grapes, are from organic or USDA-certified organic vineyards or were made without aid of animal-derived ingredients.
Quid Pro Quo on Eco-Friendly Wine Terminology:
- Made with Sustainably Grown Grapes: Wines that are produced with sustainably grown grapes are from vineyards that use environmentally sound practices and maintain the long-term health of the land instead of depleting it for short-term gain.
- Made with Organic Grapes: If you choose a wine that's labeled "Made with Organic Grapes," it means the wine contains at least 70% organic ingredients and that some added sulfites were used in the process of wine making. This takes the sustainable aspect of growing a step further and includes assurance that the grapes were grown without use of pesticides or chemicals. Cover crops, mulch, beneficial insects and composting are used in the growing process.
- Organic: Organic wines contain at least 95% organic ingredients from certified operations and no added sulfites were used in the wine-making process.
- Vegan Wines: Many wines are produced using animal-derived ingredients as a part of their filtration process, to remove impurities and yeast used in the fermentation process and sometimes to adjust tannin levels. A vegan wine ensures that animal-provided gelatin, egg whites and milk proteins are not used in the process of making the wine.
1. Cava Brut Reserva (Vegan), Can Vendrell, Penedes, Spain, NV $19.99 Tasting notes: Somewhat dry, flavors of green apple, pear and almonds.
2. Sauvignon Blanc, Frog's Leap (Organically Grown Grapes), Napa Valley, CA, 2005 $17 Tasting notes: Clean mineral tastes, stone fruit flavors with aromas of citrus and stone.
3. Pinot Gris, Ponzi Vineyards (Sustainable), Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2006 $17 Tasting notes: Creamy texture on the tongue, exhibits a long finish with flavors of fresh ripe pears and figs.
4. Syrah, Frey Vineyards (Organic), Mendocino County, CA, 2003 $11.25 Tasting notes: Smacks of blackberry, plum and clove flavors. Known for its earthy finish and tartness.
5. Zinfandel, Coturri (Organically Grown Grapes), Sonoma Valley, CA, 2003 $25 Tasting notes: Known for its "port like" style, intense ripe berry flavors and well-balanced acidity.