The grapes went straight from the ‘de-stemming’ machine into tanks to ferment, and along with the grapes went bugs, twigs, and probably some dirt. I wondered, Shouldn’t these be rinsed? Matt explained that the bugs and twigs added to the wine’s terroir—the environmental factors that give wine unique characteristics—and the residual yeast helped the grapes ferment.
If Matt and Amy had used chemicals to grow their grapes, those also would have gone into the wine. That realization sparked my interest in organic and biodynamic wines.
Cue my friend Lauren Barnard, a fierce lady boss and founder of Wine + Moxxi, a subscription-based organic wine delivery service. Lauren is on a mission to bring you wines made with love by small producers who farm sustainably and organically.
Biodynamic wines are different than organic wines. Although organic is the baseline, biodynamic is the ultimate answer to protect our planet and our health.
What is biodynamic wine?
Biodynamic wine is produced using only natural and holistic practices. For example, cows might be onsite to make compost and fertilize the vines; and rather than machinery, sheep prune the vineyard. The symbiotic relationship between the environment and the grapes makes a biodynamic vineyard flourish.
Here are two big reasons why you should choose organic or biodynamic wines:
They taste better
“Flavors are created in the vine. The building blocks are the minerals in the soil. If you keep applying synthetic chemicals, you are upsetting the minerals in the soil. So if you wish to express true terroir, you should be trying to keep the soil healthy. Let the minerals that are already there express themselves in the flavor in the vine.”
~Organic Wine Journal, Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill Vineyards
They are healthier
Wine producers have no obligation to disclose the ingredients or process they use. To clarify wine and make it sparkle, vintners often use arsenic, an element found in pesticides. Even though arsenic is also present in fruit juices, in drinking water, and even in our soil and air, some popular wines (ahemm . . . Two Buck Chuck) contain “up to four and five times the maximum amount of arsenic the Environmental Protection Agency allows for drinking water.”* Yuck.
Although the arsenic you consumed from last night’s happy hour probably won’t hurt you, ingesting it over time could. Many compare the effects of arsenic to smoking cigarettes.
I love the analogy in this Goop article:
“It’s a bit like comparing Fruit Loops to a bowl of porridge; if there were 30 ingredients listed on the label you might think twice before buying it.”
If I don’t recognize ingredients on a food label, or if the list is lengthy, I won’t buy the item. This applies to what I drink, too. And though it’s not scientifically proven, I believe guzzling pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers has to exponentially worsen your hangover.
While it may not be realistic to always choose organic or biodynamic wines, it is important to be educated about what’s in your glass. And if you want to eliminate the guesswork, let Wine + Moxxi help you! Lauren is giving all Food La La subscribers $10 off their first box (use code “FOODLALA”).