Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why You Should Drink Organic Wine

Many people go out of their way to buy organic fruits and veggies for their family, but overlook the grapes in the wine they drink. Grapes are on that Dirty Dozen list (along with apples, celery,  cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale/collard greens, and summer squash) so it stands to reason that conventional wine is teeming with chemicals and opting for an Organic wine would be the far better choice. My favorite is Frey Natural Red.

Organic wine that is actually marked Organic must meet certain criteria. Many wines are labeled "made with Organic Grapes" but that is not the same thing. That simply means that 70% of their grapes come from organic sources. The other 30% may very well be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Organic wineries also don't add what they don't need. Many wine makers add synthetic sulfites (which in some people can cause headaches, sniffles, or other allergic reactions) as a preservative. If grapes from different regions and vineyards are mixed together, large scale winemakers sometimes also use sulfites to normalize the inconsistent flavor of the grapes. It can be used to keep the traveling grapes fresh and to impede premature fermentation as well. Sulfites, which are salts or sulfurous acids, do occur naturally in wine but totally organic wines do not add any extra. Organic wines have a smoother fresher flavor.

Not only is drinking organic wine better for you, but by supporting wineries and farmers that care about what and how they are producing their product, you are consciously drinking. You have to love putting a positive spin on boozing it up, right?!

For example, my favorite wine is from Frey. Not only do I love the taste of their wine, but I love what they stand for. Frey Vineyards has a tradition of sustainability and was the first organic winery in the U.S. This family owned business has never altered their strict standards and all of their vineyards are planted and cared for under organic management, including the first vineyards planted in the 1960s. The third generation of this thoughtful family run the vineyards and winery in Mendocino County, Northern California and they reflect on every aspect of the wine making process, from their carbon footprint to their honeybees. They even compost! They recycle all of their grape pumice back into the vineyard after it is composted with manure, hay, and garden waste. Wait! Did someone says there is a garden?! Yes, bordering the sloping fields of the vineyards are gardens of blueberries, strawberries, apples, peaches, olives, melons, squash, corn, tomatoes, celery, asparagus, grains, culinary herbs, and more – all organic! I also hear there are blackberries, rose hips, and wild greens from hedgerows that grow alongside the vineyards. From the adjacent forests, they find mushrooms, acorns, elderberries and mulberries. This place sounds like heaven...and I feel it in the wine. Check them out here: Frey Organic Wines.

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