Wines are available in a number of different types and organic wines are one type that is getting more and more attention these days. Organic wines are processed from grapes which are grown without the use of synthetic fungicides or fertilizers. In vineyards where biodiversity is encouraged, vines are grown with the help of living soil i.e. soil full of worms and bacteria which helps to draw the maximum level of minerals from soil. The wines which are grown in living soil have good resistance to disease. Biodiversity also creates an eye-catching landscape.
Grape growing is organic by origin but not all vineyards are organic. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of regulations for organic food products. USDA defines organic food as “the food which is produced by farmers with the help of renewable resources and by conversion of water and soil which enhances the quality of environment for future generations”. Organic farming is done without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilizers or any ionizing radiation. Before declaring the farm as organic the government inspects the farmland and checks that the farmer rules of to meet the standards set by United States Department of Agriculture.
The Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) did not give permission for wines to be designated as organic. This decision of ATF was challenged by Hallcrest Vineyards. Since then few of the wineries have become certified processors of organic wines.
Organic wines are of four types:
• 100% organic: Produced with 100% organically grown grapes and contain no added sulphites.
• Made with organic ingredients: They have at least 70% of organically grown grapes and may contain sulfite.
• Organic: They contain at least 95% of ingredients from certified sources.
• Some organic ingredients: Thus, before buying organic wine one must know the difference between the four categories of organic wine.
The wine which is processed from organically grown grapes and which also gives information about its certifying agency is labeled as organic and is sealed by United States Department of Agriculture as 'organic wine'. Such wine does not contain any added sulfites but can consist of natural sulphites which must be less than 20 parts a million. Sulfite is a preservative of wine which is commonly known as sulphur dioxide. Sulfite has antioxidant properties and also some anti-microbial properties. It is a controversial topic whether it is possible that wine could be sulfite free. The producers of organic wine have to undergo various inspections by the organizations to get the organic certification.
Reconversion is the process by which conventional vineyards are converted to fully organic vineyards. The whole process takes up to 3 years to complete. The use of non-organic treatment is strictly prohibited in the organic vineyards. As per law all the organic claims of wine are to be mentioned on the label so that one can read the label and can come to know about the contents of the bottle. Organic wines are a gem of ecosystem. Organic wines do not contain any harmful ingredients as the conventional wines.
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