“As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other produce, with 64 different pesticides.” - Environmental Working Group’s 2012 ‘Dirty Dozen’ Report
It has been estimated that conventional wine grapes are the most heavily sprayed crops. Conventional wineries grow grapes utilizing a cycle of chemical additives as well as the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. These chemicals create a harmful cycle of depletion on the environment causing problems like soil erosion, ecosystem disturbances and water contamination. Powerful herbicides and chemical fertilizers kill off soil microbes and bacteria, crucial elements for healthy vineyards. These chemicals deplete the soil of nutrients, seep into ground water, pollute the air, and damage the grape vines. Rain carries pesticides and fertilizers, along with topsoil, into creeks and rivers, poisoning fish and wildlife as well as local water supplies. As the cycle continues, plants become less resistant to disease and produce lower quality fruit.
Organic Makes Strides
Recently, advances have been made in the advocacy and recognition of more environmentally-responsible and ecologically-sound farming practices in the grape-growing and wine industry. These practices, which reject the use of synthetic soil nutrients and pesticides, prevent the pollution of soils and water supplies. This in turn, allows the growers to focus on continuous monitoring of crops, maintaining vine strength, increasing microbial activity in the soils. Many wine enthusiasts believe organic wines are more flavorful because they are made from grapes raised on healthier soil. At the very least, they can be construed as a much more authentic representation of terroir. A grape is a product of the soil, rainfall and temperature of its immediate area, as well as specific vineyard conditions—what the French call terroir. The less manipulated through chemicals these things are, the more they can be expressed in the wine. Across the board, organic vineyards are yielding naturally balanced wines with more intense flavor and complexity. As the wine market becomes increasingly global, more producers are viewing wine simply as product. Organic producers are turning in the other direction, making wine that is born out of a commitment to both the environment and wine lovers. The result is great wine.
What's in Your Glass?
We believe that farmers and winemakers who use certified organic and/or Biodynamic grapes and adhere to organic standards in the wine making process will ultimately produce the true expression of the wines they create. In every glass of wine, there is an opportunity to smell and taste a culture, family, landscape, and terroir. There is an opportunity to develop a relationship with your wine. Organic wines are more likely to transmit terroir from vine to glass and show a purity of product with a more authentic representation of the place where they were made.