The organic viticulture takes care of nature, prioritizing not stress the vineyard, or harm the grapes and soil.
It is produced in the same way as it was 50 years ago, but with current technology and agronomic knowledge.
Soil is the heart and main “raison d’être” of organic viticulture. It must be rich in organic material, to be capable of retaining the ions, the inorganic minerals that the plant needs to grow healthy. This organic compound is the one that provides the most complex nutrients to the plant, in a slower way, but much more effectively than the speed of inorganic fertilizers. This soil with microbes and insects is more resistant to compaction and it is more protected against erosion.
A vineyard to be considered organic it must completely lack treatments with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, antibiotics and any other synthetic and/or toxic product. It is also prohibited to use harvesting machines and tractors that damage the plant or the grape. Instead, the use of natural products such as manure or compost is prioritized, and the soil is protected with plant cover. The vineyard is worked manually. In the case of diseases on the vines, only permitted products are used (lime, copper sulfate and water).
What is an organic wine?
A wine to be considered “organic” must follow certain production rules.
It is forbidden to use damaged or altered grapes, violent harvesting systems (machines), clarify with tannin or casein, excessive pressing and crushing, thermal processes without authorization, volatile acidity greater than 0.70 grams per liter, not using whole natural cork stoppers .
The rest of the common practices for the vinification and storage of wines are allowed and authorized, with certain regulatory parameters in the case of added products (example: yeasts, sulfur solutions).
Are these wines better tasting speaking than traditionally made ones? No. Are they worse? No. Are they distinguishable in a blind tasting? No, or very hard.
The difference lies in a production style, much more respectful of the raw material and the environment, more “clean”, not aggressive. And if the restrictions of chemical aggregates are taken into account, it could be concluded that even healthier.
What is the organic wine certification?
For the product to achieve this certification, the official certifying entity will control all the procedures in the vineyard and in the winery, making sure that they are cared for and sustained over time. In the event that the certifying entities verify that the actions followed are within the regulations, the vineyard and the wine will obtain the official organic certification. This process takes a few years.
Differences between USA and Europe Certification
In Europe a wine produced from organically grown grapes, with some winemaking standards is considered “organic”.
In USA, the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), says that if a wine is labeled as 100% organic, it must have been made with grapes derived from organic viticulture and produced only with organic products. The addition of sulfites is prohibited.
In this way, an “organic wine” in USA would be the so-called “raw or natural wine in Europe” and the “wine made with organic grapes” in USA would be the equivalent of organic or sustainable wine, according to European standards.
Applicable legislation in the USA – Links of interest: