ORGANIC WINE

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What are organic wines?
With some local variations, a winery that follows the following rules may be considered "organic" after a three year period of conversion: Chemical herbicides and pesticides are banned; only certain natural preparations may be used against rot or mildew; yearly inspections must be carried out by a certifying body, such as Ecocert. Most winemakers and wine-drinkers who are interested in quality and sustainability agree that avoiding substances that might affect human or environmental health is a good idea. However, many winemakers who practice organic viticulture prefer not to go through the certification process - they just farm that way because it's better for the wine.

Unlike natural wine, organic wines might contain a little chemical – sulfites, to be exact. They’re naturally-occurring and a byproduct of alcohol fermentation. However, winemakers for regular wines might add more sulfites to the process to ensure longer lifespan of wines. Most organic winemakers won’t add any additional sulfites to it, but the only drawback is that you can’t store your wine for as long – not that it’s a problem. Do note that some bottles originating from Europe and Canada might have small amounts of additional sulfites. Regulations there mention that as long as the sulfites don’t exceed 100 parts per million (ppm) and 150ppm for red and white wines respectively.

What are the different types of organic certifications to look out for?
1. EU Organic Certification. Since the 2012 vintage, the EU has implemented defining regulations for organic wine (prior to 2012, wines were labeled only with “wine made from organic grapes”). The new EU organic certification means wines are made with organically grown grapes, all additives (fining agents, yeast, etc.) are organic, and no GMO’s (or other prohibited ingredients) are allowed. Sulfur additions are limited to 100 ppm in red wines and 150 ppm in white/rosé wines (with a 30mg/l differential where the residual sugar content is more than 2 g/L).

2. USDA Organic Certification. Wines are made with organically grown grapes, all additives (fining agents, yeast, etc) are organic, no GMO’s (or other prohibited ingredients) are allowed including sulfur additions (sulfites). Despite how good this all sounds, there aren’t that many US organic certified wines due to the fact that sulfur is, at the moment, the best available natural preservative for wine. Because of this, you’ll find that most USDA Organic wines have a much shorter shelf life and aren’t meant to age. So, if you buy USDA Organic wine, store them in your fridge/chiller (both reds and whites) and don’t be surprised if they don’t cellar well.

3. “Made with Organic Grapes”. The next step away from USDA Organic is much closer to the European organic certification. Wines made with organic grapes also have organic additives (fining agents, yeast, etc) and are also non-GMO’s. The one caveat to this certification is that wines are permitted to have up to 100 ppm sulfites. Because of this caveat you’ll find “made with organic grapes” to be more popular with forward-thinking quality wine brands. Just so you know, this level of US organic wine is not allowed the USDA Organic seal, so you’ll need to seek out the words “Made with organic grapes” or “Made with organically grown grapes” on the label.

Does organic wine taste any different from regular wines?
This is subjective to one's palate and is an ongoing debate everywhere. However, A new study out of UCLA published in the Journal of Wine Economics concludes that organic wines do taste better, as measured in the scores of leading wine critics. The authors — Magali Delmas, Olivier Gergaud and Jinghui Lim — analyzed the reviews and scores of more than 74,000 California wines from the 1998 to 2009 vintages in three magazines: Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. They found that “eco-certified” wines scored significantly higher than other wines and that reviews used more positive words about them.

Is organic wines the same as biodynamic wines?
If you’ve seen “biodynamic” and “organic” grouped together, there’s a reason for that. Biodynamic wines employ organic practices, as they avoid pesticides and depend on compost, rather than chemical fertilizer. The majority of these wines are, therefore, also organic in practice. Certified biodynamic wines, however, are permitted to contain up to 100 parts per million of sulfites, far more than the USDA or top Canadian standard for certified organic wines. In short, a wine that’s organic is not necessarily biodynamic, even if a wine that is biodynamic is often organic.

Are organic wines hard to find?
It is an uprising trend so organic wines are easily found in the market nowadays and winemakers believe that organic practices are good for their grapevines as well. Healthy vines healthy wines!
Even organic red wine without sulfites or organic sulfite free red wine is not as uncommon as you think. Organic Italian wines from wineries such as Cordero di Montezemolo and Pieropan are top notch in producing some of the best organic wines in Italy! Grower Champagne house, Tarlant, is notorious for their organic sparkling wines is recognised globally for their Zero Brut Nature Champagne!


Where to buy organic wine in Singapore?
Look no further! We provide organic wine delivery in Singapore. Buy the best organic red wines or your favourite organic white wines online here on ewineasia.com.