When I talk with most people about organic wine, the response is nothing more than a polite nod followed by silence. I suspect people are afraid and feel a bit guilty. With unprecedented attention given to the environment and our negative impacts on it, we all feel like we should be doing a bit more to improve things. But who wants to sacrifice great taste for Mother Earth? The fear is that these will be strange tasting, unpalatable wines that they know they should like, but don´t.
Even if you were inclined to purchase organic wine, right next to it you might find a bottle of natural wine or even biodynamic wines. So then what? How do you know what to choose?
Before we rightfully brag about Spanish organic wines, let’s clarify some terms.
Organic wines = Earth-friendly wines
Organic wines are wines that have been certified by the European Union and hence, follow their rigorous 2012 guidelines. These guidelines cover the entire process from cultivation to processing to aging. What it means is that at no point have pesticides, fungicides or herbicides been used. Show your love for Mother Earth by enjoying one of these wines.
Natural wines = Time travel wines
While natural wines adhere to the no -cides policy, they take it a step further by only employing traditional techniques and technology for their winemaking. These include collecting grapes by hand, aging wine in amphorae instead of barrels, only using natural corks, and not filtering the wine. The idea is to maintain an unbroken continuum of taste from the past to the present, every sip an opportunity to travel back in time.
Biodynamic wines = Cosmic wines
Biodynamics is a holistic agricultural practice that seeks to harmonize the life force of the land by generating fertility and health. This is done utilizing a whole host of practices such as planting a bull´s horn filled with fermented manure and minerals and using the moon cycle as a guide to cutting and harvesting crops. These farmers believe that by syncing their land to the rhythm of the cosmos they are unleashing the full potential of the natural world to grow their crops. Therefore, to taste this wine is to connect with the power of the universe.
Now back to bragging.
Spanish organic and biodynamic wines are the world standard. Spain boasts the largest surface area of organic vineyard in the world and produces some of the world’s best organic wine. They consistently kill it in international wine competitions for doing what Spain does best: combining traditional practices with modern winemaking techniques. The reason why there is so much interest in organic, natural, and biodynamic wines may surprise you. These techniques are seen as the best way preserve land and culture. By offering the drinker as true a taste, and therefore a sense, of the land as possible.
Okay so what about the taste?
Some winemakers are looking for consistency. To maintain that consistency, they do whatever it takes to ensure their wines always taste more or less the same. Others view their wine as an extension of the land and go to great lengths to make sure they don’t impede the way that their tierra influences taste and even highlight those characteristics that make it unique. These are wines that have character and individuality with something particular to share. This is especially true of natural wines. If you want something out of the ordinary, then these wines are for you.
At the end of the day, very few people can tell the difference between a good organic wine and a good regular wine. There is no reason for you to not try for yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Whether you want to show your love to the planet, sip the past, or connect to the universe, you are only one bottle away from doing something great for yourself and the planet!