WHY YOU SHOULD DRINK ORGANIC WINE + OUR TOP 3 PICKS!
The benefits of drinking wine are extensive!
It slows brain decline, promotes longevity, reduces risk of heart disease/heart attack, reduces type 2 diabetes, lowers risk of stroke, colon cancer, AND cataracts to name a few. The Mayo Clinic and many others report the benefits of antioxidents and a substance called Resveratrol (prevent blood clots and damage to blood vessels while also reducing “bad” cholesterol) in red wine. However, you may not know that grapes are one of the dirtiest fruits for pesticide and insecticide residue. According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), grapes from U.S. supermarkets tested positive for 15 different chemicals!
Wine making vineyards utilize the same carcinogenic chemicals to protect against pests and insects and artificially fertilize the soil.
How do you avoid ingesting these chemicals in your wine?
Simply, buy organic!
According to the Organic Consumers Association, ‘organic’ wine must be made from organically grown grapes and provide the name of the certifying agency (typically the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic seal). It also cannot have added sulfites.* It may have naturally occurring sulfites but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million.
*Sulfite or sulfur dioxide is used as a preservative in wines. It has strong antimicrobial properties and some antioxidant properties.
And, a vineyard cannot label its grapes as organic unless it has completed three growing seasons ‘chemical pesticide and fertilizer free’.
We have highlighted a few of the top rated and economical options certified ‘organic’ red wines all under $20 a bottle!
Snoqualmie, a winery in Washington State, U.S. has been committed to sustainable and organic wine making since 1983.
Their commitment to the environment extends beyond the vineyard to production as well through the use of lightweight glass (reduces their carbon emissions by 13%) and certified sustainable corks and labels, by the Rainforest Alliance and the FSC.
Winemaker Joy Andersen writes of the 2009 merlot: “Blackberry and plumb fruit characters in the nose followed by natural berry fruit flavors on the palate. This wine displays simply pure impressions of fully mature Merlot grapes flavors.” ($10 at ultimatewineshop.com).
Lapostolle, Rapel Valley – central Chile, was certified organic just in 2011, meaning it had met the three-year threshold of using organic growing techniques.
Casa Lapostolle includes 700 acres of conserved land in the Andes, lighter bottles for reduced transportation costs and impact, and an innovative gravity-fed underground winery and barrel room that vastly reduces energy and cooling costs!
Since going organic in 2006, “The changes in the vineyard have been dramatic,” winemaker Andrea León told The Daily Green. First, she could see soil life pick up, and flowers blooming between the vines; then, bees and insects returned in force; then, birds showed up in greater numbers. “It’s not a grape-making industry,” she said of the renewed ecosystem. “It’s a garden.”
Canto de Apalta – a mix of Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah – offers “A rich, smoky red, sporting dark cassis, grilled fig and macerated cherry notes to the iron, smoke and dark spice flavors that linger through the mocha-tinged finish”, according to Wine Spectator. Both Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator give this bargain wine a 90+. ($19.99 at wine.com).
The Mendocino County, California, vineyards have been around since prohibition, but in recent years, it has made sustainability part of its core mission, and now claims to be the nation’s first carbon neutral winery (and its greenest, overall, a distinction that’s difficult to measure).
It’s an energy- and water-efficient operation that draws its power from renewable sources and shuns chemical pesticides or fertilizers in favor of predatory insects for pest control, on-site owls for rodent control, homemade compost for fertilizer and other organic and biodynamic growing methods.
“I want more insects,” Thornhill says, and, expanding on his water-, energy- and soil-saving practices, he adds: “I end up with a better wine in the end.”
The 2012 Sustainable Red is an easy smooth-drinking wine described by Parducci as having “berry fruit flavors and spicy complexities” that pair well with pasta, pizza and flavorful cheese. ($9.99 at wine.com)
Now, cozy up to the fireplace (or space heater), pour yourself a glass, and drink organic wine to save Mother Earth!
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