It wasn’t so long ago that wine snobs scoffed at organic wines. These early experiments certainly produced some less than appealing results. However, concerns about the environmental and health effects of synthetic fertilizers and vineyard pesticides have led many growers to go organic and many of these vintages have first-rate quality and taste.
While there are many distinctions between what is truly “organic” and what is simply deceiving marketing, be sure to check your wine label for the following key phrases:
The LIVE, or “Low Input Viticulture and Enology”, label currently certifies vineyards in Oregon and Washington that utilize natural resources like native insects and pest-deterring plants to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides.
“Salmon Safe,” another certification applied to vineyards in the Northwest, ensures that farmers use agricultural practices, such as planting trees, growing cover crops and applying natural pest control methods, that don’t harm salmon habitats.
"You did remember to get the Salmon Safe wine, didn't you?"
Certified Organic wines are made entirely of organic ingredients and processed without synthetic agents. Organic wine producers claim that it helps produce flavorful wines: Flourishing soil microorganisms and careful attention to the health of the vines, they claim, make a great contribution to taste. Organic wines contain no added sulfites (though some may exist in the wine naturally), which make them better for those with sulfite allergies.
Wines labeled “made with organic grapes” must be made from certified organic grapes but don’t adhere to the same rigorous processing standards.
Some of My Favorite Local Organic/Biodynamic/Salmon Safe Oregon Wineries:
- Witness Tree
- Sokol Blosser
- Bethel Heights