The ancient art of winemaking hasn't changed a whole lot through the centuries, but one of the most exciting developments in recent years is the rapidly growing area of organic wine.
Since grapes are among the most pesticide-laden produce, it is no wonder we are reaching more often for organic wines to fill our glasses. That means more sustainable farming, without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and a healthier planet. It may also be better for us in the long term.
Here is a simple guide to what different organic wine labels mean, from "100% organic" to "organic," "made with organic grapes" and even "biodynamic."
USDA Organic seals mean consumer confidence and rigorous standards but they aren't always obvious to understand.
100% Organic wine carries the USDA seal, and must be made from 100% organically grown ingredients, monitored throughout its entire production process. This wine can contain only naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance) in less than 100 parts per million (ppm).
"Organic" must contain 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% must not be available organically).
Relax, and discover the joys of eating more natural, wholesome and locally sourced foods, instead of heavily processed conventional goods that are grown with toxic pesticides and shipped to you from the far reaches of the globe.
You might not have thought about it, but wine is actually a great place to start on the journey toward dining more mindfully. Organic and local wines have many benefits for the planet, they often have a unique local charm, and they make great gifts or talking points.
Plus, red wine has resveratrol, an important antioxidant, so it's practically packed with health.
Here's one sparkler, three whites and two reds you'll want to pour no matter what the occasion.
From delicious Can Vendrell Cava Brut Reserva to Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc and Frey Vineyards Syrah, here are some of the finest organic wines we've tried.
Thirsty for some organic and biodynamic wines appropriate for warmer weather, we asked Tyler Colman, author of the award-winning wine blog DrVino.com, for some suggestions.
Here are Colman's picks for six natural wines to be enjoyed all summer long. They hold up well in heat and are especially refreshing.
The new movie Bottle Shock tells how California's vineyards rocked the wine world in a blind taste test.
As the Los Angeles Times puts it, the movie is:
"a new independent film based, very loosely, on the famous 1976 blind tasting in Paris in which two California wines came out on top, much to the chagrin of the expert and very French wine tasters."
Check out this feature for some recommendations for California organic and biodynamic wines that will rock your world.
Long Island wineries are making strides with their organic farming methods, and proof of success is in the product, according to one grower.
As part of the vineyard's biodynamic farming methods, Macari has a herd of 25 longhorn cattle who provide manure and a horn additive. He said that he has been able to avoid applying chemical nitrogen and herbicide for the past 10 years.
Even large commercial operations have had to consider the benefits of sustainable agriculture due to concerns about chemical runoff spoiling groundwater and rising costs of industrial mixture.
Napa Valley and Sonoma winemakers are making huge strides in their efforts to grow grapes without pesticides or fertilizers.
On top of this, they're also figuring out ways to ferment and age wine by means other than stainless steel and electric refrigeration.
Green buildings are being made of thick straw bales and packed dirt that's been repurposed from cave excavations, and wineries are being powered with solar panels, wind turbines and biogas.
Photo Credit: Robert Van Beets / Istock
If you have friends or colleagues who aren't concerned about climate change, try hitting them with this: Your booze will be affected.
The Nature Conservancy hosted a panel on climate change and wine that illustrated the effect of changing temperatures on wine it's not a pretty sight.
Luckily, there are some things you can do, especially buying local wines and bigger bottles (local organic wine would be the best).
Photo credit: William Walsh / Istock
Lift a glass of organic and earth-conscious wine and toast sustainability at its eco-finest.
Try pouring that organic red into a gorgeous recycled glass or storing that biodynamic white in a reclaimed fiber eco-bag. There are a number of great options for green oenophiles these days.
Check out The Daily Green's choices for great wines, glasses and other must-haves for wine lovers.
Yes, boxed wine is often the butt of jokes, but it may be drunk by a whole new crowd now with its recent eco-friendly status.
A new organic wine, Yellow + Blue, will come in a TetraPak in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
In the past, TetraPak aseptic packaging has been environmentally controversial, because although it does reduce shipping weight, it is notoriously difficult to recycle leading to hand-wringing over costs and benefits.
Years ago, finding an eco-friendly wine wasn't so easy let alone one that didn't taste like rotgut.
But today, there are many choices, from biodynamic to organic wine.
Perhaps dizzying choices, enough to make your head swim, and that is before you even have one drink!
The most important questions to ask are how the grapes have been grown and how the wines have been made, according to Ruth Katz, The Daily Green's Green Kitchen Blog writer. See all her suggestions here.
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