Organic wine: definition and selection of organic wines

What is an organic wine in organic farming?

An organic wine is a wine whose grape cultivation has been carried out using phytosanitary means and products of vegetable, animal or mineral origin . It comes from organic viticulture and in most cases has the AB label.

Organic wine appeals more and more to the French . In any case, this is what an article published in Les Echos reveals. Indeed, the figure for the organic sector has almost tripled between 2010 and 2017. The increasingly increased demand for organic does not only concern food but it also increasingly concerns wine . Wine merchants and specialized sellers have experienced growth of more than 20% per year since 2012. Demand continues to increase!

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Selection of Oé organic wines

Find here a selection of 3 organic wines : a red , a white and a rosé !

  • An organic rosé wine . A barbecue planned? The Mediterranean will be your ideal companion. You will be seduced by its finesse and its aromatic notes. It will also be perfect with seafood or sushi!

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  • A Sunday lunch? The red Côtes-du-Rône will be appreciated with its fine bubbles for your aperitif. It is also the perfect blend for your champagne soups and other sparkling wine-based cocktails.

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  • A dinner aperitif?  Le Bugey will be appreciated for your well-accompanied aperitifs.

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Read also the organic wine buying guide .


Organic wine: a bit of history

The history of organic viticulture begins with that of organic agriculture between the two world wars. Several new modes of production emerged at this time.

The biodynamic organic movement was born in Germany in 1927 and became the first to set up a “Demeter” brand certifying the origin of its productions . It claims a broad conception of human nature and the living. And therefore vineyards that produce wines without inputs and therefore without pesticides. Read also this detailed article on biodynamics.

The second source is the organic agriculture created in Great Britain in the 1940s and which advocates composting and the return to independent peasant agriculture.

In France, organic farming developed in the 1960s under the impetus of companies such as Lemaire-Boucher and then Nature et Progrès, which practiced a certain integration of producers (sale of advice and products).

During the 1970s, organic farming was defended by environmental protest movements .

From the 1980s, many agrobiologists distanced themselves from early theories, and philosophical references became less frequent.

Organic farming was officially recognized in France in 1981 , and in Europe in 1991. At European level, the CAP reform of 1992 created aid for conversion to organic farming which would be a powerful driver for the transition to viticulture. organic.

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How is an organic wine produced?

Farmers in organic viticulture generally only use products free of synthetic organic molecules . The purpose of this method is above all to favor the sustainability of plant and animal species as well as the life of the soil, which will have the effect of favoring the natural ecosystem . The use of chemicals (chemical pesticides) is therefore prohibited.

The quality of the soil is the subject of particular attention: the organic winegrower uses natural and organic fertilizers , as well as grassing which helps to fight against soil erosion. The winegrower thus safeguards the biodiversity of the soils and the biotope for a better expression in the mouth of the terroirs on which the grapes have ripened.

Stroll through the organic vineyards: you will see seedlings of herbs, floral plants and the presence of living fauna.

Having a healthy vine is good, but the work in the cellar is also important. Organic wines are vinified in barrels, stainless steel vats or concrete vats . As soon as the grapes arrive at the cellar, they are immediately pressed and then put into vats. As soon as the temperature begins to rise above 12°, a first alcoholic fermentation begins. The sugar, in contact with the yeasts, is transformed into alcohol. Yeasts are microscopic fungi. When the yeasts have finished transforming all the sugar into alcohol, the alcoholic fermentation is complete. The winemaker then launches a second fermentation: malolactic fermentation !

Organic winegrowers are often present at dedicated fairs such as the Millésime Bio fair.

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Organic wine, organic viticulture and legislation

The term organic wine has been officially recognized since August 1, 2012 by European regulations .

The European authorities have agreed to define what an organic wine is, by establishing specifications for the management of the vines (which already existed) and more recently one for winemaking.

In summary, it is a wine made from grapes grown organically and whose vinification is “cleaner” than that of traditional viticulture.

However, other certifications and production methods exist, such as biodynamic wine or natural wines .

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How do you become an organic winegrower?

The mention "organic" is the result of a commitment by the winemaker to a conversion of his harvesting method which lasts 3 years. From the second year, organic winegrowers can affix the words "In conversion to organic farming" on their bottles.

The objective of the organic cultivation of the vine is to allow the wine a better representation of its terroir while being cleaner for the consumer . But switching to organic farming is not just about affixing a logo to a label, it is also about changing your state of mind, product and living differently, while respecting the land and the planet.

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How to recognize well-produced organic wines?

Simply by the label . For wines produced organically before 2012, the words "wine made from organic grapes" must be included as well as that of the certifying body. These wines can also benefit from an "organic wine" certification as long as the winemaking process respects the 2012 rules.

For wines produced after 2012, the European logo is mandatory as well as the mention of the certifying body. The origin of the raw materials must also be mentioned: EU or non-EU agriculture.

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Taste an organic wine

A wine from organic farming is a delicate wine, it must be taken care of. This is due to reduced doses of sulfur (sulphur, sulphites and SO2 are the same things), which makes organic wine more fragile.

Indeed, the sulfur or sulfites added to the wine prevent oxidation that is too rapid, so it is necessary to pay particular attention to your great wines, in particular to provide them with good conservation .

The ideal is to keep your organic wine in a cellar, or in a cool place , away from light and temperature changes. If you don't have a wine cellar, don't panic!

Natural wines correspond to yet another category of wines produced without chemical inputs. The grapes come from organic farming. The aim of this approach: to reflect the terroir and let it express itself in everyone's glasses. The maximum doses of authorized sulfur are 30mg/l for reds and 40mg/l for whites.

Red wines, white wines, rosés… there are many possibilities for food and organic wine pairings. The important thing is to pair your organic wines with dishes from organic and local agriculture to remain consistent with this choice of consumption!

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