Organic & Biodynamic

One of our greatest areas of concern in the industry is the vast amount of information available relevant to Eco-friendly practices, grape growing & wine making - to which most is incorrect.  We are asked frequently to expound upon vineyards and wineries that have "certification" or labels that demonstrate the committment of a winery to a set of practices; this is problematic to say the least.

Growers that do well in this arena have a respect for the land, a stewardship relation that may be fostered within this decade or have been in place for centuries.  The fact is, many don't have a need to discuss this as it would be implied - and yet many times isn't what the entire industry is doing, so hence the need to talk to the subject.  In addition, the labeling process in our country is archaic and expensive to get through - research via the web and even personal interaction can be the only manner to assess the winery/growers intentions.  Third on our list is the many possible agencies/ organizations that lend their name to products - consistency is within, but not universal to the whole - and the expense portion that stops wineries from even participating (years of product/profit can sit idle prior to certification - for a public that dismisses most of the effort).  Last, a decade of misinformation fed to an unaware public, begging to be retrained yet stuck on some old bylines.

THE FACT is, wine averages about 80 ppm sulfites, with or without any addition - this placing it quite low on the scale when compared to Bacon, Soy sauce, Frozen OJ, Sauerkraut, Hotdogs, Pizza Dough, Jellies, & Dried fruits.  None of these products are required to label as "contains sulfites" - yet by law all wine will have this distinction (No madam, I have no labels with that not present).  The human body produces 1000mg per day of these compounds and requires them to be successful in life (FDA) - only a specific asmatic condition would result in great worry (your doc would have informed you of the other products, prescribed drugs); the FDA has determine this represents 5% of 5% of our public (.4% of everyone).  THE REALITY is our reaction to wine consumption usually involves areas such as heartburn, flushed faces, even cramps - and reasons exist for these.  Red wine is quite high in histamines (teary eyes, flush sinuses); alcohol itself is a toxin in small part to the populace (nose, flushness, weary); and the vast quantity of over-extracted/high alcohol/"cut with a knife" wines produced in the last decade (we cannot digest these as other wines).   It truly sends us running for some Oregon Pinot Noir!  I can show our guests wineries that average in the low 40ppm and others that average 100ppm - but look below!

ORGANIC - made from 95% grapes grown organically; no chemical soaps or added Sulfur Dioxide, and less than 100ppm resultant sulfites.  Hmmm, sounds good, but there's more!

MADE FROM ORGANIC GRAPES - 70% grapes grown sustainable, can add up to 10ppm sulfur when necessary, still end up at 100ppm resultant wine.

These label constrictions are for the USA! The EU will not recognize ANY winery practices - it's all about Viticulture (as it should) - so a Demeter Certification can help (although thousands of wineries would consider this to be offensive, they wouldn't dream of our practices) - but frankly? Know your grape grower, regional laws, or ask us!  France attempted to write in some winery guidlines, but Italy walked away, Spain laughs as their climate requires so little worry, Greece is broke, etc, ect. And let us not go to town on Chilean and Argentine labeling - they sell wines at all levels and to USA as well as EU formats.  We have an Australian wine that has 300ppm (3X!!!) yet one is more likely to get a sugar high than go into anaphalatic shock.

We pride ourselves on keeping a current knowledge and list of producers we are most impressed by their committment to quality.  I have provided below a few links for your perusal - and our full (by no means world complete) list of wineries.  At The Wine House, we are most impressed by biodynamic/sustainable farming and less by chat or labeling.  In the end, is is great wine?

www.organicconsumers.org

www.sustainablewinegrowing.org

www.liveinc.org

www.demeter-usa.org