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Fine Wine Organic Style
A carefully selected organic wine can provide a note of wholesome holiday cheer
You’ve learned that drinking moderate amounts of fine red wine can be good for your health, but you’d like it to come from organically grown grapes. Plus, ever since you saw the film Sideways you’ve wanted to try an organic version of a Pinot Noir, but don’t know where to turn. Well, the good news is that the world is full of earth-friendly wineries ready to slake your thirst. But before you can savor the flavor of that organic pinot, it helps to know a little about what you’re buying.
“I buy organic wines because I feel deeply that it’s overwhelmingly important to encourage organic farming,” says Amy Louise Pommier, manager of Prospect Wine Shop in Brooklyn, NY, which stocks some 90 organic wines. Delicious organic choices available to wine lovers are increasing to meet growing consumer interest. Nationwide sales of organic wine totaled $48 million in 2003, a 20.4% increase over 2002, according to the Organic Trade Association, the leading business association for the organic industry.
Grape growers who farm organically usually do so because they feel they will produce better wines while leaving fewer chemical residues in the soil, atmosphere, ground water and the wine itself. Just how widespread is organic winemaking? In California alone, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the state’s largest certifying body, designated 7,700 acres organic out of a total of 513,000 acres statewide. The CCOF estimates that some 135 wineries and grape growers are involved in making organic wine. Many more California wineries incorporate a range of organic farming practices but are not formally certified, and there’s evidence that organic winemaking is a growing movement worldwide. “A significant number of Europe’s best winemakers have chosen in the past few years to convert to organic farming,” says Pommier.