Recently, a friend asked me about organic wine.
He asked what it really means for a wine to be organic. He counted off on his fingers all the different versions of organic wine he could think of organically grown, sustainably farmed, biodynamic, something about sulfites, and on and on. He asked about certification, and wondered if there is some centrally located body governing all this confusion.
Plus, he seasoned his frustration with a dash of cynicism, asking this important question, Pretty much everybody now has some kind of green awareness in their shopping habits. What is organic wine really about; wellness or wealth?
I understand his frustration.
I tried to explain the whole thing, but found myself unable to unable without going into a lecture. Also, I was surprised to realize my own fuzziness on some of the details.
We’re trying to make it a little easier at Binny’s with this checklist, which some Binny’s locations hang to show the green qualities of wines on our shelves. But even this list is incomplete, especially considering the ever-evolving nature of green wine. Even the word organic is confusing – despite its specific legal definition, it is often used as a blanket term for any wine that carries an image of heath for customers or for the Earth.
Expect a series of posts here on the Binny’s Wine Blog breaking down the different types of green wine. We’ll try to get at the core meaning of different classifications of green wine; from the vine, to the winery, to the agencies that certify the finished product. I’ll try to keep a cautiously open mind skeptical but not cynical about each type, in order to cut through the hype. We’ll look at the USDA Organic certification process, and at Demeter Certification and Biodynamic farming. We’ll discuss the effects of SO2 and sulfites on wine and health, and discover Eco-friendly farming practices. We’ll see how greenwashing when marketing green takes more importance than actually being green is damaging the image of Earth-friendly practices overall. And much more.
I hope you’ll join in the conversation.
At its core, the discussion about green wine mirrors a larger discussion, one about our way of life, about how we as a nation and as a planet feed ourselves and how we live. At the same time, we must recognize blatant marketing as such. So we will ask: is green wine really about wellness of wine drinkers and our world or about wealth?