Eco Friendly Wine- To Drink Or Not To Drink?
Everyone is trying to be green today, from driving a hybrid car to eating organic produce or switching on energy-efficient light bulbs. The next step to protecting the Earth could be green wine. But would you drink it?
Many people want to live a green lifestyle, and drinking wines that are organic and natural can be one of the more enjoyable ways to do this. “Organic” is not a simple term. The overall concept is that wines are made naturally with no chemicals, in a biologically sustainable way.
But organic wines are now being made all around the globe, from the United States and Europe to the southern hemisphere. In fact, a growing number of producers practice some form of natural grape growing and winemaking because they believe these methods make better wine.
Pesticide-free farming and a deep respect for the land takes time, effort and money, and those who are meeting the exacting demands of eco-responsibility deserve recognition and praise. In fact, when it comes to wine, organic labeling carries quite a bit of confusion.
Here is a little clarification.
Certified Organic vs. Certified Organic Grapes– It turns out that in order to be ‘certified organic,’ complete with the green USDA organic seal, a wine has to be devoid of sulfur dioxide. These ‘sulfites,’ help ensure wine has a reasonable life span.
The good news is that for winemakers committed to organic farming, but unable to abandon sulfites (and not many can, given that sulfite-free wine has an extremely short shelf-life), the USDA allows vintners to use the following lingo: “made with organic grapes.”
In this instance, the winery and its farming practices still need to be certified organic, and the finished product needs less then normal sulflites-100 parts per million of total sulfites (the maximum allotment, by law, is 350 parts per million). Sounds like a fair compromise.
Why Fair Trade Wine?
Like other Fair Trade products, buying Fair Trade wine ensures that the producers were paid a living wage and that the grapes were grown using environmentally sustainable practices.
According to Etica co-founder, Tiffany Thompson, “grape farmers and workers in developing countries are dependant on low incomes that often do not cover labor and production costs. The Fair Trade system allows farmers to become more sheltered from the effects of suppressed, unpredictable, and distorted world prices.”
Need a glass of wine yet? Check out the following for some of the most popular organic wineries.
Ethica- The focus here is on fair trade. By working with producers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States, Etica helps farmers funnel funds back into vital community services like building infrastructures and education development.
Ethicawines.com -The Organic Wine Company-Browse imported, top-quality wines from France and Italy including red, white, sparkling, biodynamic and even vegan, all certified organic.
We also recommend Ethical Wine for expert commentary and recommendations on sustainable, organic, biodynamic and Fair Trade wines. Ethicalwine.com
Here is a quick way to enjoy your wine this season:
1 quart cranberry juice
1 bottle ed wine (your choice)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1-2 cinnamon sticks
6-10 whole cloves
6-20 whole all spice
Mix all ingredients except wine in a saucepan, simmer for 15-20 minutes. When ready to serve add the wine. Don’t boil the wine or you will kill the alcohol.