"Do you have organic wines without sulfites?" That's a question sommeliers and wine experts all over the country are hearing from discriminating wine enthusiasts.
So, why the sudden demand for organic wine?
While there isn't an official "low sulfites, no headache" guarantee--sulfites haven't been proven to be the headache-culprit anyway--organic wine is as delicious (if not more so) as conventional wine, and it aligns with a growing concern for sustainable agricultural practices.
"Millennials and Baby Boomers are the driving force," says Jeremy Shapely, an importer with Triton Wines, "We're seeing more than 20 percent organic growth yearly with organic wines."
Certainly increased demand for organic wines is good news. But how do we know what's truly organic? Does it have to be certified? There seems to be conflicting opinions on whether or not certification is necessary.
For example, many European wineries don’t want to be forced into U.S. certification even if they're employing organic pest and weed control methods. “I'm an organic grower. But I don't run my propriety in such way because I want to sell an organic product," says Giampaolo Tabarrini of Italy's Tabarrini Vineyards, "That is simply advertising. I do it because my land is where I, my son and my wife live every single day.”
Maximilan Kast, wine director at Fearrington, a green-certified restaurant, adds, "Some of the best wines in the world come from producers using organic or biodynamic methods. We are open-minded about this and certification is not a necessary pre-requisite to be on the list; in fact some of the strictest adherents to both methods choose not to be certified at all.”
Dave Amadia from Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma explains, “Organic farming may have little to do with how the wine is made and/or processed at the winey." Meaning that additives and sulfites can be added during production and not written on the label.
Rather than letting organic classifications give you a headache, the best solution is to find wines that you love that are as pure as possible. Then drink up and enjoy!
This cherry-picked list was curated by international wine experts, sommeliers, and wine lovers featuring wines made from organic grapes that are so delicious even conventional wine drinkers won't blink when you say it's organic or even biodynamic.
Without further ado here are 85 Delicious Organic Wines to try in 2016.
- La Colombera, Timorasso, Piemonte, Italy $22.
- Tabarrini, Montefalco Sagrantino Colle alle Macchie, Montefalco, Umbria, Italy, 2011, $70
- Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato, Piemonte, Italy 2012 $16.99
- Azienda Aricola Ferreri & Bianco, S.r.l, Nero d'Avola, IGP, Santa Ninfa (TP), Sicily, Italy, 2013, $19
- Adriano Marco e Vittorio Sanadaive, Barbaresco DOCG, Italy 2012 $14.99
- Querciabella, Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG, Sangiovese, Tuscany 2012 $35 (Biodynamic)
- Querciabella, Mongrana Toscana IGT, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Maremma, 2012$19.99 (Biodynamic)
- Zeroincondotta, Barbera, Canelli, Italy, $12.99
- Rizieri Societa Agricola Semplice, Barbera d'Alba Superiore DOCG, Diana d'Alba, Piemonte, Italy, 2012, $21
- G. D. Vajra Barolo "Bricco Delle Viole", Piemonte, Italy 2011 $90
- G. D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba, Piemonte, Italy 2013 $28.50
- Società Agricola Cantine del Notaio, Aglianico del Vulture 2010, Rionero in Vulture, Italy, $65
- Tenuta di Ghizzano Nambrot, Pisa, Italy 2011 $50.00
- Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso Pisa, Italy 2011, $45.00
- Azienda Agricola Zeni S.s., Teroldego Rotaliano 2012 DOC, San Michele All'Adige, Italy, $26
- Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012 Tuscany, Italy, $29
- Pizzolato Cabernet, IGT Veneto, 2014 $11.99
- Terra Viva, Sangiovese, Veneto, Italy - $9.99
- Albet i Noya, Tempranillo, D.O. Penedès, Spain, 2013, $9.99
- Albet i Noya, Reserva Martí, D.O. Penedès, Spain, 2009, $44.99
- Spartico Tempranillo Crianza NSA Organic, Spain $11.99
- Tarantas Tempranillo Crianza, Spain 2012 $9.99
- Vinecol – Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina - $13.99
- Pot de Vin, Merlot, Languedoc, Roussillon, France, $11.99
- Le Famille Perrin, Les Christins Vacqueyras 2011, $29
- Le Petit du Chateau de La Garde NSA Organic Bordeaux 2014, $14.99
- Les Hauts de Lagarde, Red Bordeaux 2014 $12.99
- Clos du Jaugeuyron Haut-Medoc 2008, $33
- Château Haut Colombier, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2014, $16
- Guy Chaumont Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France 2013 $19.99 (Biodynamic)
- Maysara Winery Jamsheed Pinot Noir, Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA 2010 $25 (Biodynamic)
- Maysara Winery Cyrus Pinot Noir, Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA 2011 $32 (Biodynamic)
- Maysara Winery Asha Pinot Noir, Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA 2010 $39 (Biodynamic)
- Maysara, Pinot Noir, Jamsheed, McMinnville, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2010 $32 (Biodynamic)
- Volker Eisele, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chiles Valley, Napa Valley, California, 2010 $56
- Three Degrees- 2014 Pinot Noir, McMinnville AVA $20 (Biodynamic)
- Qupé Syrah 2012 Santa Barbara, California $30
- Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $65
- Quivira 2013, Grenache, Wine Creek Ranch, Dry Creek Valley, $32
- Quivira Vineyards, The Elusive, Dry Creek Valley 2012 $34
- Ernest Vineyards, The Engineer, Pinot Noir, Romanini Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, California, 2014 $48
- Ridge Vineyards, East Bench, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California 2013, $28
- Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County, California, 2010, $65 (Biodynamic)
- Benziger Estate Pinot Noir Quintus, Sonoma Valley, 2013 $75 (Biodynamic)
- Benziger Estate Red Oonapais, Sonoma Valley, 2012 $49 (Biodynamic)
- Volker Eisele Family Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chiles Valley District, Napa Valley, California, 2012 $50
- Stellar Organics, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Western Cape, South Africa, $9.99
- Live a Little, Red blend, Western Cape, South Africa, $8.99
- Reyneke Vinehugger Cabernet-Merlot Western Cape, South Africa $16.99
- Biblia Chora Areti Red, PGI Pangeon, Greece, 2009, $26
- Maysara Winery- 2014 Arsheen Pinot Gris, Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA $16 (Biodynamic)
- Maysara Winery- 2014 Autees Pinot Blanc, Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA $17 (Biodynamic)
- Volker Eisele Family Estate, “Gemini” Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Chiles Valley District, Napa Valley, California 2013 $25
- Bonterra Chardonnay North Coast, California 2013 $12.99
- Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay Napa Valley 2013, $43
- Quivira 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Fig Tree Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, $24
- Chateau Laubarit Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France 2014 $13.99
- Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d'E 2013, $28 (Biodynamic)
- Albert Mann Pinot Blanc 2013, Alsace, France $18 (Biodynamic)
- Querciabella, Batàr Toscana IGT, Pinot Bianco; Chardonnay, Tuscany, 2013 $90 (Biodynamic)
- Les Haut de Lagarde With Bordeaux 2014, $12.99
- Chateau Laubarit Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France 2014 $13.99 (Vegan)
- Zind-Humbrecht Riesling 2013, $24 (Biodynamic)
- Huia, Pinot Gris, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2012, $18
- Fable Mountain Vineyards 'Jackal Bird' Tulbagh, South Africa, $35
- Biokult Gruner Veltner, Austria 2014 $14.99 (Biodynamic)
- Terra Viva Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Italy 2014 $11.99
- Perlage Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT, Veneto, Italy 2014 $13.99
- Peruzza Perlage Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2014
- Azienda Aricola Ferreri & Bianco, S.r.l, Catarratto, IGP, Santa Ninfa (TP), Sicily, Italy, 2014, $18
- Azienda Agricola Barberani, Orvieto Classico Castagnolo DOC 2014, Orvieto, Italy, $18
- Albet i Noya, Xarel·lo, D.O. Penedès, Spain, 2014, $9.99
- Albet i Noya, 3 Macabeus, D.O. Penedès, Spain, 2014, $14,99
- Biblia Chora Estate White, PGI Pangeon, Greece, 2014, $23
- Perlage Col di Manza Rive di Ogliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore $24.99 (Biodynamic)
- Perlage "Riva Moretta” Prosecco Frizzante DOCG, Valdobbiadene, Italy 2014 $14.99
- Pizzolato Fields, Prosecco, Italy 2015 $12.99
- Zeroincondotta, Spumante, Canelli, Italy, $12.99
- Leclerc Briant Brut Rosé Champagne, France $65 (Biodynamic)
- Albet i Noya, Brut Natural, D.O. Penedès, Spain, 2011, $17
- Tarantas Sparkling Rose, Spain 2014 $9.99
Rosé, and Dessert Wine
- Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Latigo, Lake County, California, 2010, $45
- Quivira, Rosé, Dry Creek Valley, California 2014 $22
- Stellar Organics, Rosé, Western Cape, South Africa, $9.99
- Live a Little, Rosé, Western Cape, South Africa, $8.99
5 Tips for Enjoying Organic Wine
- Many are small lot wines. Which means a small production. So, if you love it buy more. It might sell out.
- Low in sulfites means fresh. Depending upon the wine, you might want to open it a year or two from the release date. Best to find out.
- Let it breathe. Many of these wines are young reds and need aeration.
- Want to find out just how organic your wine is? Learn about both the growing and production practices of the wineries. Fear not, wineries are quite transparent.
- Curate your own organic wine list. Learn the qualities that you like such as "velvety" and flavors like "blackberry". Then look for those words in other wine descriptions and most likely - you'll love it.
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