With a significant rise in the amount of people choosing to buy and consume organic food due to its reputation for being a healthier choice for your body; you’d think that the same could be said for organic wine – but the benefits of this are much less clear.
Organic wine makes up a small fraction of the overall wine market, but in the USA this is heavily regulated. There are three levels of ‘organic certification’ that can appear on wine bottles; 100% organic, organic, and made with organic grapes. Each of these certifications have their own requirements and standards for the amount of organic ingredients that must be in the wine (100% organic ingredients, at least 95% and at least 70%). There are additional categories such as, biodynamic and natural wine. But the main defining factor between all the categories mentioned above, is the amount of sulphites they contain.
There is a general school of thinking that the fewer sulphites the better. This isn’t necessarily true all the time. Without sulphites, it can be difficult to make wine that smells, tastes or looks like what most consumers are used to drinking. However, there is a contingent of wine drinkers who think that natural, organic and sulphite free is the only good way to enjoy wine!
A small percentage of consumers can be allergic to sulphites, which means that they must be listed on the bottle – this can unnecessarily alarm some consumers as they think that the disclosure on the label must mean that sulphites are something really bad.
People also blame their hangovers on sulphites, but the experts have said that this isn’t strictly true. Some medical studies have shown that sulphites can bring out an asthmatic reaction in some people, but when it comes to avoiding that annoying headaches, research has suggested that other components in wine, such as tannins and histamines – or even just the alcohol itself – are more likely to be the cause.
Funnily enough, most people are actually already used to sulphites. The amino acids in the human body produce them naturally as part of their efforts to break down the toxins in alcohol. Sulphites are also used in plenty of other foods; for example they keep dried fruit from browning. So a good point made by experts here is; if you can eat dried apricots and not get a banging headache, then you can drink wine and not get a headache because of sulphites.
Although, there has been a significant push from wine lovers towards organic wine – as it does sidestep nasty pesticides that are used in traditional grape growing methods. Many consumers are going the extra step and are actively seeking out information about growers’ pesticide and farming practices in order to drink healthier wine. Some wine producing regions have their own local certification programs which guide winemakers through sustainable practices which have been specifically tailored to the environment in which they are working in, and so the vineyards can offer much more valuable and clear information about their processes to customers who visit. Check out Florida hangover link for treatment centre.