What is Organic Wine and Does it Taste Better?
Organic wine and biodynamic wine are trendy and popular, but do they taste better? Those who have switched to organic wines believe they are better for you than non-organic (wines made from grapes that have been treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers).
The Benefits of Organically Grown Wines
Organic certified wine is made with grapes that are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Instead of using chemicals to protect their grapes from insects and plant diseases, organic vineyards choose natural, plant-based products. Many farmers now also believe that when grapes grow without chemicals, they also develop a better resistance to the diseases that usually trouble plants.
Biodiversity is encouraged by growing different types of plants together. Certain plants may be grown next to each other because one plant can attract insects that are beneficial to the other. For example, plum trees are planted on some vineyards between the individual rows of grapes, because plum trees attract a certain type of a wasp that eats vine leafhoppers – insects that could easily destroy a good crop of grapes.
What are Biodynamic Wines?
Biodynamic farming means organic farming that has been taken to the next level. Based on the philosophy of the founder of anthroposophic medicine, Rudolf Steiner, biodynamics uses nature’s cycles and earth’s rhythms (such as the cycles of the moon) to plan the best times to plant or to harvest the crops. Biodynamic farmers also use homeopathic or herbal products instead of synthetic fertilizers or fungicides.
Another important wine trend is the increase in sulfite-free wines. Sulfites occur naturally in grapes (and in many other plants) and their job is to protect the plant from microbes and other organisms. They are also added to wine to protect it from oxygen damage and to preserve the flavor. These substances have been used in wine-making for hundreds of years. Unfortunately they can also cause allergic reactions. A common allergic symptom is a severe headache.
White wine generally contains more sulfites than red. In sulfite-free wines other methods are used to protect and preserve the wine, but they do not usually last as long compared to normal wines. Some people suffer from a mild sensitivity and can drink normal wine that does not contain any added sulfite (but still contains what is naturally found in the grapes), and others have turned to organic and biodynamic red and white wines to avoid any chemicals that may cause allergies.