written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/31/2009
Learn the benefits of drinking organic wine and discover some great tasting affordable organic wines.
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Benefits of Organic Wine
Organic wine producers must follow the guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture's Organic Food and Production Act. Grapes grown according to the UDSA's organic standards are not treated with synthetic pesticides. Additionally, grape growers use eco-friendly practices to maintain soil biodiversity such as growing cover crops, companion planting, using natural fertilizers, and composting. In purchasing organic wines you are supporting these environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
To achieve the USDA's certified organic label, the wine must not only be made with 100% organically grown grapes, but it must also be processed and bottled without the use of sulfites. When sulfites are added to wine made from organic grapes, the wine is labeled "made from organically grown grapes."
Sulfites can lead to heartburn or other discomfort in people with sulfite sensitivities. Rarely, people may have an allergic reaction to sulfites. No wine can be completely sulfite-free, as sulfites form from the fermentation of naturally occurring yeasts on grape skins. However, additional sulfites have been traditionally added to wines to improve shelf life and preserve wine's natural flavor. The vast majority of people with sulfite sensitivity can tolerate organic wines.
Frey Vineyards produces domestic organic wines in Mendocino County, California. Their wines are the first in the US to be certified Biodynamic. Check out their three bottle specials, available online only, for a great deal on organic wine. Each 3-bottle order costs about $35.00 and includes such favorites as Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Syrah.
Organic Vintners carry a selection of domestic and imported organic wines in their online store. Pircas Negras, a line of organic wines produced in Argentina's Famatina Valley, are a popular affordable choice. The 2008 Pircas Negras Torrontes is their best selling white. This tasty wine was awarded 86 points and named a Best Buy by Wine Enthusiast (Feb. 2009). What a deal for only $11.99 a bottle (on sale for $8.99 through July 2009)! Check out the other varietals from Pircas Negras, including Malbec, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to browse Organic Vintners for other affordable selections from around the world.