We're all set to entertain. We have super efficient Energy Star appliances filling the kitchen, saving money and reducing our carbon footprint. We now know we can get environmentally friendly flowers to grace our table. Next on our list is something fab to imbibe, something that we hope will be free of herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals...and which we also hope was produced in a fashion that is sustainable for the earth. Years ago, finding an eco-friendly wine wasn't so easy, but today, there are many choices. Perhaps dizzying choices, enough to make your head swim, and that is before you even have one drink!
First off, though, just be aware that the word "organic" means many things to different people, and we probably should say peoples—with an "s" on the end—since wines are made the world over, in countless countries, and individual nations have differing rules and regulations as to how they legislate what is printed on their labels and what is not. In America, for example, the U. S Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the use of the phrase "100% Organic" or merely the term "organic." Even if the wine of your choice doesn't have one of those labels, it may still be made with organic grapes and other organic ingredients, so it's best to shop in a store where the staff know their products and can give you a little primer as you make your selections. Many local specialty wine shops these days have weekend tastings and mini-educational seminars, and not only are these informal classes valuable for learning about wines, but they're also ideal for affording you the opportunity to taste a wide range of interesting vino that you might never have thought to buy.
The most important questions to ask are how have the grapes been grown and how have the wines been made? The answers should be...in a biodynamic way that allows for sustainable viticulture, i.e., in a way that respects and honors the earth. After all, Mother Nature has done a darn good job of giving us something truly celestial to accompany our meals...so let's keep farming those grapes in ways that allow for plentiful harvests to come over many years down the road. A votre santé!