During the recent craze for buying organic products, have you noticed the scarcity of organic wines in your local wine store?

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To be considered organic, wine must be made from organic or biodynamically grown grapes and contain NO additives. This is an issue for most wineries because sulfites, an additive, is necessary for wine preservation and aging. Without sulfites organic wines will not age and will have a shorter shelf life.

However, ECO-FRIENDLY wines are made from the same organic/biodynamic farmed grapes but with added sulfites, they will age and improve over time.

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Horses plow vineyards in France.

In fact, a UCLA study looked at ratings of 74,000 California wines and found that eco-friendly wines received higher scores (4.1 points higher). A difference of 4 points in ratings published by Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate or Wine Enthusiast is significant. Generally speaking, 88 rating is an okay wine but 92 rating is very good, and a  96 rating – that’s a serious (and expensive) wine.

But in order to not be confused with organic wines, wineries do NOT advertise their eco-friendly practices. In that same study, only 1% of the wineries were eco-certified and only 1 of 3 wineries disclosed their eco-certification.

ECO-FRIENDLY WINES ARE THE BEST BUY (if you can find them)! Search bottle labels or shelf talkers for terms like organic farming, biodynamic practices or sustainability. Enjoy eco-wines while this price inversion exists – it may not last forever!

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Though not well advertised, there are many California eco-certified wineries such as Benziger, Chappellet, Spottswoode.

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy

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