by Ali Collins
Special Contributor to Murphy's Wine Shop
With as many as 5,835 vineyards now certified as organic or in the process of converting, it’s become easier for environmentally conscious wine lovers to enjoy their favorite wine flavors. Predictions for organic wine sales suggest that the number of consumers opting for organic, unfiltered wines will continue to grow sharply. Global consumption of organic wine is expected to hit around 1 billion bottles a year by 2022. Meanwhile, consumption in the US is expected to rise by 14% in that time. But it isn’t just organic wine that is transforming the wine market. It’s been joined by sustainable, natural and biodynamic wine, offering wine lovers more eco-friendly choices and quality flavors.
Green Consumer Habits
Buying green organic produce is nothing new for many Americans. Sales of organic food and goods are significantly rising each year and reached more than $47 billion in 2016. People have become more focused on sourcing environmentally-friendly gifts, household and personal items, GMO foods and electric and hybrid vehicles. While there may be a premium to pay for eco-friendly goods, an increasing number of people say that they are willing to spend more money on goods that are environmentally friendly. This shift in people’s attitude to buying eco-friendly has contributed to wine enthusiasts being more conscious of the credentials of what is in their wine glass.
What Is Organic And Natural Wine?
Organic wine consumption has nearly doubled in just five years. It has risen from 349 million bottles up to 676 million bottles. The rules for organic wine is strict and the grapes used for these wines must be certified as being grown organically without any use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and artificial preservatives. Organic wine is focused on protecting natural resources, promoting biodiversity and limiting the use of synthetic products. Natural wines meanwhile, continue the philosophy of organic wines and focus on a low intervention approach. It doesn’t follow the common practices of winemaking such as adding yeasts or rectification of sugars or acidity.
Rise Of Biodynamic Farming
There are at least 300 certified biodynamic farms in the US. For winemaking, biodynamic extends the organic ethos to the entire ecosystem around the vineyard. It includes the treatment of soil and crops and planning of key activities around astrological cycles. Sustainable wines include the same environmental concerns as organic and biodynamic wines but also takes into account the winery’s wider role in the community. Sustainability also takes into account energy and water conservation and the use of renewable resources during the growing, harvesting, and production process.
Organic Wining And Dining
An increasing number of restaurants now offer a range of eco-friendly wines that are made from organically farmed grapes and sustainable agricultural methods. One of the most common questions asked of sommeliers is whether organic wine actually tastes good. However, an analysis of reviews and scores of over 74,000 wines concluded that organic wine does indeed taste better than non-organic wine. The organic wines scored considerably higher than the other wines and the reviewers used positive words about the wine. Your sommelier can talk you through the wine list and may recommend you try the Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. It achieved certification certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers in 2009. If you prefer white wine, ‘The Old Vines’ from DeSante Wines is an intriguing field blend of heritage grape varieties that have been dry-farmed without conventional agrichemicals of any type since the mid-1940’s.
Organic, sustainable, natural and biodynamic wines are rapidly gaining attention among wine drinkers who have become more eco-conscious about what they buy and consume. Winemakers are responding and producing wine that is full of flavor and body to rival any non-organic wine.