Green Wine: Going Organic

Stephen Asprinio discusses organic wines.

The topic of “going green” in the wine world is an important one in today’s evolving society. In the hospitality industry in general, the green movement has been a major issue that is being focused on throughout each sector. New hotels are incorporating sustainable and “LEED Certified” building practices. Restaurateurs and chefs alike have embraced organic ingredients to serve in their restaurants, as opposed to conventional ones. And the wine industry has been making amazing progress in the green movement by implementing biodynamic practices into the vineyards, as well as producing the most progressive style of wine to hit the market -- organic.

In the wine world, organic refers to methods of growing that rely on the earth's natural resources, instead of man-made ones. Pests and weeds are managed using earth-friendly means such as beneficial insects and mechanical controls. Organic farmers build natural nutrients in the soil, which help fertilize plants without the use of synthetics. The grapes are grown according to very strict standards. In California, the CCOF annually inspects farms to insure that no harmful chemicals have been used for at least three years, and that growers keep detailed records of their practices. Essentially, the vineyards are managed using methods that are not harmful to our bodies, providing the end-user, the consumer, with a natural product.

The question arises: Are organic wines superior to conventionally grown wines? In regards to being better for you, it’s pretty safe to say that organic wines are enhanced in comparison. Though when it comes to the overall quality in taste, balance, and structure, I would have to say as a whole, conventional wines are better. There are simply more of them in each quality tier across the board. Organic wines are growing in number, but the number of options are still lacking. As the demand increases for wines of this nature, we are sure to see a correlating increase in the supply within the wine market.

One example of an excellent organic wine is Robert Sinksey Vineyards in Napa, CA. The wines are grown organically, and produced using biodynamic practices. The wines are high quality, and the price point is reasonable. Robert Sinskey Vineyards is a great example of where the fine wine world is moving. Then there are other organic wines such as Bonterra, which I find to be mediocre, and consequently do not represent the organic wine movement in the best manner. As more organic wines in the same family as Robert Sinskey reach the market, we will begin to see a shift in purchasing patterns of wine consumers.

Buying organic wine is not only a wise decision for one’s self and personal well-being; It is a decision to support what is right and best for our environment, replacing toxic substances with natural ones, prolonging a sustainable environment and ecosystem, and simply drinking wine that not only helps us to feel good, but helps the earth to feel good as well.