Overview — The Differences Between Standard Wine & Organic Wine
There is something about the word “organic” that just makes people go wild over whatever food or drink has the word preceding it. And when it comes to organic wine, the same can be said, especially if the name almost drinks wine drinkers into thinking they are having a healthier wine option. Naturally, you are going to need to have the best organic wine guide handy if you are going to make an informed decision about every type of organic wine that’s worth trying.
First, however, it is probably important to understand the differences between the regular run of the mill wine and organic wine. Both options have their own strong flavors and varieties and going with either style will likely please your refined junior wine connoisseur palate. But there is no getting around the fact that organic wine is a tad different.
Organic wine is typically made from organic grapes which adhere to the national regulations of organic farming. The grapes are grown without any fertilizers or pesticides and organic grape vineyards are more closely and strategically cared for in order to properly maintain the organic status and nature of the grapes and, eventually, the wine they produce. Organic wines are also made without added sulfites. When it comes to wine, sulfites are essentially the same thing as preservatives you might find in foods and other drinks. In wine, sulfites help to increase the life of any given wine they are added to. But organic wines are made without this, or if they are made in Canada or some European countries, the organic wines might have minimal sulfites added.
On the flip side, conventional regular wine that you can find pretty much anywhere might have some chemical additives and preservatives in order to prolong its shelf life. That’s good news for those who prefer to buy wine in bulk, but some of those who prefer to eat cleaner or go organic with their other drinks and their meals might appreciate the purer nature or organic wine options. Having engineered yeast strains or artificial colors added in the wine doesn’t make it bad or bad tasting by any means. But these are some of the aspects which help set it apart from organic wine, which can still make you feel just as tipsy as conventional wine varieties.
The Benefits Of Organic Wine
Even though there is nothing inherently wrong with conventional wine, there are some undeniable benefits of organic wine. For starters, you can frequently notice the difference in taste alone. As anyone who prefers organic foods will agree, the tastes of those tend to be fresher and more prominent and such is the case with organic wine. Organic wines are also made with grapes that come from pesticide-free farming practices on vineyards. Obviously, there are no scientific reasons to suggest wines made from grapes from vineyards who use pesticides are harmful, but it can give some people peace of mind.
Organic vineyards are also better for the environment because, after a little while, they become little ecosystems of their own. The sheep which frequently graze organic wine grape vineyards eat the weeds and continue to provide optimum growth conditions, naturally rather than constantly needing heavy machinery to maintain a vineyard’s quality grapes. It’s hard not to appreciate wine made from grapes which are themselves grown without harmful additives.
While organic wine isn’t necessarily healthier for you, there is a reason why drinking wine used with organic grapes can sometimes taste fuller, richer, and, in some ways, better than other wine options. There are a few pieces of evidence which certainly make it seem like organic wine is a little healthier for you, however. Organic grapes for wine often turn out with thicker skins and more of the healthy antioxidants found in all grape wines. Organic wines also often have less sugar.
The Best Organic Wines By Variety
Wine: Santa Julia 2012 Chardonnay Orgánica
- Taste: This 2012 organic wine is made with organic grapes and makes for a rich and citrus-heavy chardonnay. It has distinct citrus and pineapple flavors that are hard to ignore, even if the finish isn’t overtly overpowering.
- Where To Buy: You can find it on Wine.com.
- Price: It can be found for $11 per bottle.
Wine: Badger Mountain Riesling
- Taste: If riesling is your thing and you want to transition to organic wine, this is a top choice for you. It has crisp notes of granny smith apples. But more than that, it also gives off strong flavors of both peaches and pears. Overall, it’s mostly a refreshing organic wine variety.
- Where To Buy: You can find it on TotalWine.com.
- Price: This one goes for $16 per bottle.
Wine: Parducci Sustainable Red Wine
- Taste: Parducci has been making wine for more than 85 years, so naturally, the winery has organic options, like this particular red. The Sustainable Red has spice and berry flavors. The combination makes it an easy pairing with all kinds of cheeses, pizza, and grilled chicken.
- Where To Buy: It is available on Wine.com.
- Price: It goes for $11 per bottle.
Wine: BioKult 2010 Rosé
- Taste: Like most rosés, this one is pretty light on the palate and has corresponding notes of strawberries and raspberries. It does have some residual sugar flavors, but as with other organic wines, it is still low on sugars, which can be a deciding factor for people who prefer to go with organic wine over conventional wine.
- Where To Buy: It’s available on OrganicWineExchange.com.
- Price: Bottles cost $14.
Wine: Auriga Wine Cellars 2010 Sangiovese
- Taste: Not only does this Sangiovese have floral aromas that are hard to ignore, but it also has raspberry and strawberry notes, despite being a deep red. While it is on the sweeter side and sweeter than you might expect, there is also a tartness most wine lovers can appreciate.
- Where To Buy: It can be found on Wine.com.
- Price: Bottles go for as little as $20 each.
Wine: Bonterra Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
- Taste: If you want a fruity wine, then this is it. Of course, you might have to also love cherries, but if you happen to, then this is the perfect organic option for you. In short, this cabernet sauvignon tastes like a ton of sweet cherries.
- Where To Buy: Get it on Wine.com.
- Price: You can get it for $15 per bottle.
Wine: Domaine Carneros 2009 Brut Vintage Cuvée
- Taste: As a mixture of pinot noir and chardonnay, this vintage organic wine has all of the rich flavors you would expect from a hybrid wine. It is essentially a sparkling wine and features honey and vanilla flavors as well as citrus from limes and sweet tartness from apples.
- Where To Buy: It’s on WineBid.com.
- Price: You can get a bottle starting at $25.
Wine: Les Haut de Lagarde With Bordeaux 2014
- Taste: It has definite black currant notes that are strong without being overpowering. The wine also tannins, which help make it a more dry kind of wine.
- Where To Buy: It is available in various places on Wine-Searcher.com.
- Price: It can be found for as little as $12 per bottle.
Wine: Adriano Marco e Vittorio Sanadaive
- Taste: This red wine is best served with meat dishes. You can recognize strong notes of rose and dried flowers and there are even undertones of orange that give the wine a full-bodied taste.
- Where To Buy: You can get it on Wine.com.
- Price: It’s available for $30 per bottle.
Wine: Stellar Winery ‘Live A Little’ Really Ravishing Red
- Taste: Although this is an organic red, it has a more complicated, but enjoyable, flavor than a simple red wine typically is. Live a Little has flavors of black cherries and spicy raspberries as well as vanilla, which can be noticed right off the bat.
- Where To Buy: You can buy it on EmpireWine.com.
- Price: It comes at a more affordable price at $9 per bottle.
Wine: Sokol Blosser 2012 Pinot Gris
- Taste: This pinot gris option has clear notes of spice, but it also has tones of apple, cirus, and fig. Combined, they make for a rich and robust organic wine.
- Where To Buy: Right now, you can find it on Wine.com.
- Price: It goes for $24 per bottle.
Wine: Királyudvar 2007 Tokaji Cuvée Ilona
- Taste: The smell of this one is amazing as it is, with aromas of tropical fruit and flowers alike. This lends itself to the clear flavors of fruit, tea leaf, and even sea salt. Combined, it all makes for a light and flavorful option.
- Where To Buy: You can find it on Finding.Wine.
- Price: It goes for $55 per bottle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! For a wine to qualify as organic, the USDA National Organic Program requires the wine to not have any added sulfites.
Organic wine will not avoid a hangover. The difference between a normal wine and organic or biodynamic wine is in the number of sulfites, not on the alcohol level.
Based on a UCLA study, organic wine scores significantly higher than conventional wine when it comes to taste. So, it not only comes with fewer sulfites but is very possible that you will find a better taste experience as well.
You will probably never find the perfect, no hangover, sugar-free, inexpensive wine you have been searching for your whole adult life. There might not be the perfect wine which has all of these qualities and whatever else you need to make it you’re favorite. But the benefits of organic wine are legitimate, and there is a pureness to the taste that some wine drinkers might not be able to replicate with more standard wine. Even if conventional wine is easier to come by, lasts longer on the shelf, and is easier to understand, you have to admit that organic wine has its own quality, benefits, and taste that make it a fine competitor. You don’t need to eat organic food to be healthy and you don’t need to drink organic wine to be a junior sommelier, but the best organic wines make it hard to say no to one more glass.