The world of wine has never been more diverse as it is nowadays. When buying wine online, you’ll notice a growing variety of brands and types, but even the way wine is made is changing. Producing wine organically is a growing trend that we’ll explore in this article.
What is organic wine?
Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Organic wine is produced using organic farming practices, which focus on promoting soil health and biodiversity and reducing the use of chemical inputs.
Organic certification standards vary by country. In the UK, organic wine is regulated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and is subject to the same organic standards as other organic food and drink products. To be labelled as organic in the UK, the wine must be made from grapes that have been grown organically, without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. In addition, the winemaking process must meet specific criteria, which include:
- No synthetic additives – wine cannot contain any synthetic additives, such as preservatives, colourings, or flavourings. However, sulfites (a naturally occurring compound) may be added in limited amounts to help preserve the wine.
- Organic yeast – the yeast used to ferment the wine must also be organic, and cannot contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- No oak chips – use of oak chips, which are commonly used to give red wine, for example, an oaky flavour, is prohibited in organic wine production in the UK.
- Traceability – the wine must be traceable from the vineyard to the bottle and must be certified by a recognized organic certification body, such as the Soil Association.
One distinction in the UK is that some wine can be labelled: “wine made from organic grapes,”. This indicates that the grapes used to make the wine were grown organically, but that the winemaking process may not have been fully organic.
What are the benefits of organic wine?
It offers a number of potential benefits, including:
- Reduced exposure to synthetic chemicals – Organic wine is made from grapes that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. This means that organic wine may contain fewer synthetic chemicals than conventionally produced wine, reducing your exposure to potentially harmful substances.
- Better for the environment – organic farming practices promote biodiversity and help to reduce pollution, erosion, and soil degradation. Choosing organic wine supports these sustainable farming practices, which can help to protect the environment and preserve the health of the soil and surrounding ecosystems.
- Lower sulfite content – sulfites are naturally occurring compounds that are commonly added to wine as a preservative. Organic generally contains lower levels of sulfites than conventionally produced wine, which may be beneficial for individuals who are sensitive to sulfites.
- More ‘natural’ – it’s made without the use of synthetic additives, such as colourings, flavourings, and preservatives, which are widely used in the making of rosé wine, for example. This means that the flavor and aroma of organic wine may be more natural, reflecting the terroir and unique characteristics of the grapes and the region where they were grown.
- Better for your health – while more research is needed, some studies suggest that organic wine may contain higher levels of certain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds than conventionally produced wine. Drinking moderate amounts of white wine, for example, has also been associated with potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease.
The growing trend of organic wine
As we become more conscious of health, sustainability & the environment, there is increasing demand for products that are perceived as more natural, eco-friendly, and health-conscious. Organic wine can be seen as meeting these demands.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global organic wine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% from 2022 to 2030. The report cites factors such as increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of organic products, rising demand for sustainable farming practices, and government initiatives to promote organic farming as driving the growth of the organic wine market.
In addition, many wine producers around the world are shifting towards organic and biodynamic farming practices, in response to consumer demand and the potential benefits of these practices for the health of the soil, vineyards, and surrounding ecosystems. This shift is particularly evident in regions such as California, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia, which are major wine-producing regions and have seen a significant increase in the production of organic wine in recent years.
Overall, the trend towards organic wine is likely to continue, as consumers seek out products that align with their values and concerns about health, sustainability, and the environment.
Is organic wine more expensive than non-organic wine?
Organic wines tend to be more expensive than non-organic wines due to several factors:
- Organic farming practices tend to be more labour-intensive which can result in higher production costs
- Organic certification can be costly for the producer, which is passed on to the consumer through higher prices
- Organic grapes are often grown in smaller quantities, and the yield per-acre can be lower than conventionally grown grapes, which can increase costs
- Sellers promote & rely upon the perception among consumers that organic products are of higher quality and worth paying a premium for
In reality, the premium isn’t huge but, in the same way, that you might expect to pay more for organic foods, you may also expect to pay more for organic wines.
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