Organic products are getting more popular all the time, as people are learning about the health benefits of cleaner farming – and wine is no exception. It is estimated that we’re buying about 17 percent more organic wine every year, as more and more tempting options become available.
Choosing organic wine is actually a little tricky, and here’s why. Some wines are labeled “made from organic grapes”while others have the “certified organic” label. Both types contain organically grown grapes, which means they are farmed without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Most wineries then add sulfites to their wine, whether it’s made with organic grapes or not. These sulfites are anti-microbial and prevent spoilage; some people think they even enhance a wine’s flavor.
In a wine that is “certified organic”, no sulfites are added. Organic wine is naturally fermented, and there may be naturally occurring sulfites. Wines that are labeled “made with organic grapes” do have added sulfites but everything else about the wine is organic. Many organic winemakers even use traditional “by-hand” techniques for crushing, bucketing and barreling the wine. Kinda makes youwant to run away to California and stomp some grapes, no?!
Which should you choose? From a nutrition point of view, they’re both great choices: A recent study from the University of California, Davis found that organic fruits have up to 58 percent higher antioxidant levels than non-organic. When we can, we choose “certified organic”, but going for wine with organic grapes even with sulfites is a good start. But, remember, sulfites have been linked to allergic reactions in many people so if this an issue for you, “certified organic” may be a true solution. And, craving that bottle of wine at your favorite local Italian spot? Indulge. Organic or non organic, wine in moderation has many health benefits.
“Certified organic” wine is not particularly pricey and with its growing popularity, you’ll find plenty at your local wine store. For a crisp white—perfect for kicking off your summer!—the Nutritious Life team recommends Bergerac Blanc from France or Heitz Cellars from California. For affordable reds, we recommend Fuso Barbera from Italy or Coturri Vineyards from California.
And is a moderate amount of vino good for you? You bet it is! Sure there have been lots of conflicting data in recent years, but a new study, a biggie that looked at data from over 124,000 people, confirms that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol actually lengthens your life, and lowers the risk for heart disease. So by all means, IF you do drink, drink to your health in moderation!
Have you ever tried organic wine? What are your thoughts?