Drinking Organic: What Difference Does Organic Wine Make?


Right now, there is an organic revolution going on in America.

Not buying it? Walk into any grocery store and walk down just about any aisle and tell me what you see. Right next to the rice–organic rice. Right next to the tomatoes–organic tomatoes. Right next to the bottled water–organic bottled water. While that last one might not be true, the idea perhaps isn’t too far off.

While the claims of organic being better for you are somewhat dubious, it is a certainty that they’re much worse for your wallet. Consumer Reports found that organic prices range from being about 10% more expensive to over 300% more expensive depending on where and what you’re buying. The average, according to the report, was about a 47% price increase for buying organic.

So if eating organic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, what about drinking organic? I speak, of course, about organic wines.

First things first, though: what’s the difference between organic and non-organic wines? The main ingredient in wines is, of course, grapes. So growing organic grapes is the biggest step in creating organic wine, though it certainly isn’t the only step. Attention is also paid to the level of sulfur dioxide in the wine, as added sulfur dioxide is kept to smaller levels in certified organic wines according to the Food Network. While the distinction is different between what the USA and European wine classifies as “organic” the sulfide and grape growing are the two main components.

So does it really matter whether you’re drinking organic or non-organic? That depends largely on whom you’re asking. The herbicides and fungicides that are present in the growth of non-organic grapes can potentially alter the taste of the resulting wine, and certainly alters the way they’re grown. Can wines grown organically taste different (and better) than non-organic wines, yes, absolutely. But will they always taste better, certainly not. That will come down to the price you’re paying, the skill of the winemaker and where it’s source from. In my opinion, if you’ve got a certain wine that you enjoy, stick with that instead of paying a premium for an organic wine that may or may not make a difference.

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