Organic Matter

Why you should be drinking organic wine

Over the recent years, organic and ecological wines have been gaining in popularity all over the world. More and more wineries are producing them, yet they still remain a minority, and it’s not easy to find good ones.

There are different usage and regulations for the term “organic,” which vary depending on the country you consult, which makes it difficult to understand what organic and biodynamic wines are all about. In a nutshell, for a wine to be labelled “organic” it has to be made from at least 95 percent organically grown grapes; both US and the European Union require that just 95 percent of the product is organic in order to award it organic status.

But what does organic mean? It means that the ingredients used to produce the wines are grown without the use of artificial pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically-modified organisms or ionizing radiation. If you believe that organic means chemical free, you are incorrect. Some chemicals are allowed, albeit in small quantities, if there are no acceptable substitutes and if the chemical is considered safe.

Likewise, organic wine may not have been produced using sustainable techniques, which are methods of producing wine that respect nature and leave the vineyards in the same state or in better condition for future generations.

Biodynamic/ecological viticulture is essentially organic viticulture with the addition of some practices that look specifically at the ecosystem. Some of these techniques include surveying the alignment of the planets and the phases of the moon for planting, harvesting, etc.

There are nine special preparations that are fundamental to biodynamic viticulture, including treating plants, animals and crops as a single interconnected system. Disease and insect control are addressed through botanical species diversity, predator habitat, balanced crop nutrition, and attention to light penetration and airflow. Weed control emphasizes prevention, which includes timing of planting, mulching, plus identifying and avoiding the spread of invasive weed species.

Either of these practices, which are similar but different, have the common goal of respecting the environment and delivering a wine as natural and free of chemicals as possible. But how does this matter to you and the taste of the wine?

If you have not tried organic wines for a while, (admittedly, in the past they used to be dreadful), I encourage you to give them another try. Nowadays, they are gorgeous and obviously healthy. A good example of this is Aroa Jauna, from Bodegas Aroa in the North of Spain, a tiny winery producing only organic wines, winners of many accolades and offering great value for money.

Avoiding pesticides and working naturally with pests makes a huge difference: Hacienda Lopez de Haro wines in Rioja plant roses at the front and back of each row of vines as they know that pests will attack roses first. This is just one example of a more delicate, natural way to work around problems, rather than simply spraying with chemicals to “prevent.”

But perhaps the best reason to try organic wines is that due to the almost complete lack of chemicals and reduced use of sulphites, you can drink more with less powerful hangovers!

BIO: Alfredo de la Casa has been organizing wine tastings for over 20 years and has published three wine books, including the Gourmand award winner for best wine education book. You can reach him at

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Delightful Coffee Shops in D7

Text by Marco Bouwer Ho Chi Minh City does not take a step back for any city when it comes to coffee culture. It is home to thousands of independent coffee shops, which is a treat if you’re used to a city overran by the big international coffee brands. There’s adventure in discovering unique little

Read More »

Behind the Label

Is French wine about to hit bottom? France has the worldwide reputation for producing the best, and usually, the most expensive wines in the world. The five first growths of Bordeaux, also known as the Grand Crus, even though they are mass produced in the hundreds of thousands of bottles, easily reach astronomic prices around

Read More »

From a Virtual Restaurant to your Dining Table

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room to serve diners, Oi speaks to Rukmini Makkar about her new business What inspired you to start FEURO, and what does ” FEURO ” mean? Saigon is a vibrant melting pot of cultures, and has a wide array of delicious cuisines to offer, the founders

Read More »

Eat More Vegetables

Exploring Vietnam’s best vegetarian ingredients For many, Vietnam is a paradise for vegetarians of all kinds. Restaurants roll out a vegetarian menu for the first and 15th of every month for those looking for a bit of soul purification. Home cooks revel in a huge assortment of fruits and vegetables, changing with the season. And

Read More »

A Good Rose Is Good

Rosé rules. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Rosé wines are some of the most undervalued wines in the world. There are no particular reasons for this other than perhaps ignorance and misunderstanding them. In Asia, rosé wines are considered bad because “they are made from the bad red and white wines

Read More »

Chinese Comfort Food

Longstanding establishment Café Central opens a new location in District 5 Among Saigon’s most prominent food & beverage groups, WMC has long been known for its range of restaurant styles and signature menus that are always designed to appeal to broad tastes in dining. This year, the group has launched its latest venue by returning

Read More »