If you make conscientious decisions about how your food is cultivated and processed, there is no reason to compromise those principles when browsing the wine racks. We sought out Ian Mendelsohn of Vine & Tap for information about choosing organic wine, and he connected us with Hardy Wallace of Dirty and Rowdy Family Wines and Eric Crane, Advanced Sommelier and Director of Training and Development for Empire Distributors.
Navigating the world of organic wine can be tricky since, unlike food, there are no federal requirements to include a list of ingredients on the wine label. According to Wallace, that means there are around 200 additives (yikes!) that could be added to your wine without you ever knowing. However, don’t judge a wine by its label. Terms such as “natural” and “sustainable” are more often used as a marketing ploy to pique shopper interest than to provide accurate information. Crane advises to look for organic or biodynamic certifications, which indicate that the grapes were grown without chemicals or pesticides and the wine was produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
If you’re still unsure, strike up a conversation with a trusted sommelier or vintner, and they’ll lead you to the right wines for you. To start you on your way, here are some suggestions from the local pros:
- Some Napa Valley picks: For a white, the 2012 Semillon from Dirty and Rowdy Family Wines, and for a red, the 2010 Robert Sinskey POV
Details: dirtyandrowdy.com; robertsinskey.com
- From Italy: “Wines of Radikon. They primarily produce ‘orange wines’ (whites fermented on their skins like a red wine). The Radikon wines take the casual drinker down the rabbit hole into another dimension of wine.”
Details: radikon.it; lecaveauwine.com
- From California: “Everyone should try the wines of Forlorn-Hope. Each bottle is dubbed ‘another rare creature.’ Matthew Rorick makes wines primarily from grapes and places you have never heard of.”