Organic wines come in many different guises, and the best examples show all of the delicious balance and bright fruit that you’d expect from a great bottle.
Below you’ll find a range of excellent styles reviewed by Decanter experts in the list below.
As many readers will know, organics has been a major trend in recent decades as both winemakers and drinkers consider their impact on the environment.
Around 6% of the world’s vineyards were certified organic in 2019, equal to 454,000 hectares, according to the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV).
There are different rules and approaches around the world, but broadly speaking organic wineries and grape growers avoid the use of synthetic chemicals in the vineyard and seek to promote soil health and biodiversity.
Some organic producers say their wines better reflect a sense of place or terroir.
A key facet of organic winemaking rules has been the use of sulphur dioxide, or sulphites.
In the US, organic wines can’t contain added sulphites, beyond those naturally occurring in the wine itself. Wines labelled as ‘made with organic grapes’ can have sulphites added up to a certain threshold, according to the US department of agriculture (UDSA).
In Europe, organic winemaking rules agreed at EU level in 2012 set down limits for sulphites, but below the threshold for conventional wines.
Some producers use organic methods without pursuing official certification, and there are brilliant winemakers who have long eschewed chemical pesticides and fertilisers in the vineyards.
It’s worth doing some research behind the label if you have the time.
Alternatively, speak to your local wine merchant before you buy, because they will likely be able to share more information about the winery.
There are differences between organic and biodynamic approaches, and also from loosely-defined natural wines. Private and government-sponsored sustainability schemes have also risen to prominence in the last couple of decades.
To some extent, these separate strands show how environmental considerations and judicial use of intervention techniques in the cellar are central conversations in modern winemaking.