Organic wine offers many benefits, like reducing unsustainable agricultural practices, and improving human wellbeing by providing nutrient-rich wine.
Over the past century, a rise in demand for food products has facilitated agricultural practices that are increasingly more strenuous on the environment. Farmers are now incentivized to grow their crops faster and increase their yields.
To help them achieve this, they naturally seek out the most cost-effective materials on the market, which today consist of many chemicals that have a negative impact on the wider environment. Commercial crops with a greater market value, such as wine grapes, are particularly vulnerable to this issue.
Another problem with wine is, despite being difficult to grow, it is incredibly valuable with a great return on investment. Grapevines require a unique environment to grow and bear fruit, with just enough rain and sunshine and limited temperature variations. Only a few select places on the planet have such a climate, yet some farmers have implemented unsustainable agricultural practices to grow grapevines in unsuitable environments, as the value of some wines makes it financially feasible.
The meaning of organic wine differs from region to region. Typically, organic wine is a wine that is made from organic grapes and does not include added sulfites. So, the question becomes, what are organic grapes? These grapes are grown using organic farming practices, such as eliminating the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and fungicides.
Although they may spread these chemicals around their crops, water runoff from rain usually causes leaching into the water table. This means these chemicals, once introduced into an area, may damage the environment. By removing these substances, organic farmers protect the surrounding ecosystem, including people living in the area.
Organic grapes are typically non-GMO as well. Although GMO crops have not been proven to negatively affect human health or the environment, unlike the previously mentioned chemicals, they do have an impact. GMO crops may cross-breed with wild plants that grow near their farms, creating hybrid plants with their genetically modified traits. For example, they may bear more robust fruit or be impervious to particular herbicides. This would make the resulting hybrid invasive, disrupting the delicate ecosystem.
Organic wines usually eliminate or reduce their added sulfites. In wine, sulfites are a naturally occurring compound that works to help keep wine shelf-stable and long-lasting. Understanding this, winemakers began to add more sulfites to improve wine longevity.
Although sulfites in wine are not known to cause any issues in the environment, they may have an effect on human wellbeing. Some cases of allergic reactions related to sulfites have been recorded, and the long-term effect of consuming large amounts of sulfites is not yet known.
Organic wine is a wine that is made from organic grapes and does not include added sulfites.
As previously mentioned, farming practices like irrigation also have a negative effect on the environment. When farmers try to grow crops in an unsuitable environment, they are forced to use artificial systems to help their crops grow.
By using irrigation, farmers inevitably contribute to water overconsumption in regions that need to conserve this resource. However, by implementing organic practices, farmers are inadvertently making their soil more capable of retaining water. In order to successfully grow crops without synthetic chemicals, farmers are encouraged to use richer, more nutrient-dense fertilizers. This improves the quality of the soil, allowing more water to remain in the soil for a longer period of time, as well as the quality of their grapes.
It is undoubtedly that organic farming reduces the impact of agricultural operations on the local ecosystem. However, there are health benefits to organic products as well. Better soil improves the quality of the resulting grapes, which therefore produces higher quality wine. Organic wines are known to be higher in compounds such as antioxidants and other nutrients.
Aside from being healthier, organic wines also offer an improved taste for wine lovers. This is a result of the improved soil quality and reduction of additives such as sulfites. The taste of organic wine is often fuller and more complex. If you live in a region that is known for widespread wine growing, such as California, you will also enjoy a reduction of synthetic chemicals in your environment.
Organic wine has dramatically changed the landscape of the wine industry and continues to grow rapidly worldwide. Each year sees a rise in both the consumption and production of organic wine and the reasons seem to be clear. Organic wine is better for both the environment and human wellbeing, on top of offering a unique taste that has been lauded by wine enthusiasts. As more people and companies turn to organic wine for these benefits, this sector will flourish.
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