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Organic options are becoming more popular - many supermarkets have dedicated aisles purely for organic produce.
In the wine aisle, you’re sure to come across various different quality organic opinions.
Organic food and drinks are grown or made without using artificial fertilisers, pesticides, or chemicals - in order to be classed as organic, 95% of the ingredients used must come from organically produced animals, plants, or ingredients.
The same applies to organic wine - and organic wine has surprising health benefits.
But what exactly are the health benefits of organic wine? And how is organic wine made? Keep reading to find out.
Certain steps have to be taken throughout the winemaking process in order for a wine to be classed as organic, and the first stage is growing the grapes.
In 2021, most produce is grown with the aid of fertilizers and pesticides, which are full of chemicals.
The same applies to growing grapes for wine - in order for wine to be organic, the grapes must be grown in an organic vineyard without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
Different vintners will adhere to various different guidelines and processes to ensure that their vines remain healthy without using harmful chemicals.
Chemicals are often used in vineyards to kill any unwanted insects or weeds that may damage or consume the vines, or simply lower the quality of the grapes making them unsuitable for winemaking.
Chemicals can help to protect the vines and grapes, but some residue may remain on the grape and end up in the end product.
However, chemicals aren’t always needed to protect the vine - there are organic methods available that don’t damage the wine or the environment.
Chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers fight against nature, but organic methods can work with nature to protect the vine and increase the biodiversity of the vineyard.
One of the most common methods of doing this involves introducing certain predator populations to eradicate pests such as insects and bugs in a natural way free of chemicals.
Organic vineyards will use natural composts to grow and fertilize the vines instead of composts with added chemicals.
Non-organic composts can damage the surrounding environment, as well as make it harder for plants to grow in the area in the future.
Vines can often get surrounded by weeds, so to fight the weeds, organic vintners will introduce sheep to graze around the area, instead of using harmful chemical weedkillers.
Although these methods are effective, many organic vintners will still use protective sprays - however, instead of chemical sprays, organic winemakers will use sprays made using natural products.
Some ingredients you may find in a natural protective spray may include copper, sulphate, lime, and water.
Steps also have to be taken in the fining process to ensure that the wine is organic - instead of using chemical fining agents, organic vintners will use natural products to fine the wine.
No sulphates or chemicals will be used in the winemaking process, ensuring that the wine remains completely organic.
Now you know all about organic wine, it’s time to learn about the health benefits. More and more people are opting for organic options - so keep reading to learn why.
Sulphites (aka sulphur dioxide/ SO2) is an antibacterial preservative used to maintain the colour and shelf life of foods and drinks and is commonly used by vintners to ensure that wine remains fresh for longer.
Organic vintners will still use sulphites to maintain the quality of the wine over time, but organic wines only contain around 50% of the amount used in regular wines.
However, this means that organic wine tends to have a shorter shelf life than other wines.
Vintners must legally include sulphites on the label if it contains more than 10ppm of sulphur dioxide.
Legally, wines shouldn’t contain more than 150mg/litre of sulphites, and consuming up to this amount is considered safe.
However, some people are especially sensitive to sulphites - people that have severe asthma reactions, or those who lack the enzymes that break down sulphites may have negative reactions to sulphites, so it’s always best to go organic if this is the case.
Some people may experience allergic reactions to sulphites - this can be in the form of hives, a rash, blotchy skin, or even stomach issues - which is one of the main reasons that sulphite levels are highly regulated in food and drinks around the globe.
Most wines you’ll find on the shelves at your local of licence will contain high amounts of sugar, whether it be residual sugar or artificially added sugar.
The amount of sugar in a wine can determine how much alcohol the wine has, as more sugar in a wine generally results in more alcoholic wine.
Adding extra sugar during fermentation is called chaptalisation, and is illegal to do in some countries.
However, this isn’t the case for cheaper, more commercial wines that add sugar after fermentation.
Sugar is added for many reasons - the main reason is to make it sweeter, but it can also be added to mask the poor taste or to make the wine appear fresher in taste.
Organic wines typically contain less sugar, which is perfect if you’re trying to lower your sugar intake, you’re on a low carb diet, or you simply want to lose weight.
People who truly appreciate the taste of wine will opt for wines that contain less sugar, as it will contain the natural flavours and aromas of wine.
Organic wines are better for your body as well as the environment. Pesticides are used in most vineyards to kill bugs and insects that can damage the vines - however, pesticides can also kill the positive bugs that can help the plants grow as well as protect them.
Nitrogen is a key ingredient in fertilizers, which can contaminate local wildlife and water supplies, meaning the fish, livestock, or plants you consume may contain nitrogen residue.
Organic wines are made using grapes that haven’t been doused in chemicals, which not only protects the environment but is better for your health.
In most cases, there aren’t enough levels of chemicals to harm you, but it’s generally best to steer clear of chemicals when choosing your favourite wine.
Any wine lover can appreciate a wine that doesn’t leave you with a killer hangover the next day.
Well, organic wines contain fewer chemicals and sulphites, and will lessen the effects of a headache next day.
However, this is if you drink in moderation - if you drink several bottles, even organic wine won’t prevent a sore head the next day.
Choosing organic wine is something every wine drinker should consider - but it’s important to stay hydrated while sipping your favourite tipple, and avoid consuming more than the daily recommended (unless it’s a special occasion, of course!).
Organic wines contain fewer sulphuric acids, and don't use chemical fining agents, which is much better for your health than ordinary wines.