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organic wine grapesGrape vines and fruit trees are the beginnings of wine and they are vulnerable to all sorts of diseases and pests.

While most modern growers do use chemicals to keep their plants healthy, a growing number are moving away from traditional methods and using organic solutions.

These viticulturists have come up with many natural remedies for common blights. Using organic planting methods & pesticides can keep the plants healthy while not adding harmful chemicals to the soil for the plants to absorb.

Adding preservatives to wine is another hot issue with consumers. A reduction in the use of sulfites in organic wines is a boon for allergy-sensitive people who suffer from 'sulfite headache.'

So what officially qualifies a particular wine as "organic"?

In this sample label for organic wine, the
USDA sets guidelines for stating the exact
percentage of organic ingredients.

To gain organic certification, wine producers must use only organic farming practices in their vineyards.

Instead of insecticides, grape growers may plant trees to attract birds or beneficial bugs to their vineyards to eat insects that are harmful to the vines.

Diseases such as mildew and leafspot are also kept under control with applications of sulfur, and/or by thinning between rows and keeping the vineyard clean of moist plant debris.

To uphold standards, winemakers must undergo regular inspection by organizations such as the Soil Association in the UK, Ecocert in France, and the  California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in California. Standards are continuously enforced throughout the year, and spot-checks can take place at any time.

Bottle labeling also usually falls under government regulation to protect consumers as organic wine comes to market. In the United States USDA rules governing organic wines include proper alerts to the exact percentage of organic grapes used in the wine's production. Sulfites must also not exceed 100 PPM (parts per million.)

Just up ahead, find out more about going organic including some tips for making your own wines, and resources for buying organic wines online ....

also see -> Mendicino - On the Cutting Edge of Organic Wine



What's the difference between organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines? - The different organic growing techniques are explained by Dr. Vinny at the Wine Spectator with side trips to more on certifying agencies, and how to read an organic wine label.

Organic Wine Journal - The latest updates and feature articles covering the world of organic wines with reviews, tasting notes, and related resources.

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