Organic wine: 6 concepts to understand it

May 5. 2021

Concern for the environment and respect for the ecosystem have been part of consumers’ choices for several years now and, of course, it is a good thing that this is the case. Organic wine is an example of this change.

Neither Argentinean wine, nor Chilean wine, nor Uruguayan wine have escaped this trend, and more and more wineries are promoting a sustainable production system for their wines and for the maintenance of their vineyards. Many others have decided to go one step further, and offer to the wide market of wine consumers an interesting range of bio wines (organic wines) that are worth discovering.

It is important to mention that the production of a bio or organic wine is not too far from the production of a wine that is not organic, except that the viticulture of the bio or organic wine will be 100% harmonious with the ecosystem and respectful of the environment.

But what does it mean for a wine to be organic? Here are some fundamental concepts:

1) Bio Wineries

Organic wineries usually have grazing animals in their vineyards, who will eat the weeds in the summer season, allowing them to drastically reduce the use of herbicides in the winter season. In addition, these animals both compact and aerate the soil with their hooves as they walk through the vineyard, regenerating its micro-organisms and turning it into “living” soil.

2) Winemaking

For a wine to be ecological or organic, the use of agrochemicals is not allowed at any stage of the production process. Prohibited products according to organic standards range from pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilisers to fungicides.

3) Machines

Of course, the grapes are only harvested by hand, without the use of machines of any kind.

4) Fermentation:

The fermentation of the grapes (i.e. the process by which the yeasts transform the sugar into alcohol) is carried out only with natural or indigenous yeasts (which are those that come attached to the skins of the grapes), and industrial yeasts cannot be added.

5) Sulphites

As for the presence of sulphites generated from sulphur dioxide, they also exist in organic wines, although it is expected that in much smaller quantities. In this case, they are not added sulphites – a practice widely used in industrial winemaking – but only naturally produced sulphites.

6) Price

Finally, it is important to mention that organic wines should not necessarily be more expensive than other wines. Although it is a practice that somewhat limits the amount of wine produced, it does not necessarily represent a higher cost, which means that an organic wine can be just as accessible as a non-organic wine.

Among the organic wines we can highlight good examples of Argentine Malbec, Chilean Cabernet or Uruguayan Tannat.

Among the wineries that have decided to take the step towards the production of organic wine, we find for example the winery Chakana. The winery was founded in 2002, taking up an old family legacy. At the end of the 19th century, their ancestors produced quality wines in the mountainous region of Valtelina, Italy.

Chakana is dedicated to the study and understanding of some of the best terroirs in Argentina with the aim of producing authentic wines that express the identity and character of their soils.

Chakana is located in Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza), where it owns 80 hectares of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards. It also has estates located in. Paraje Altamira (Valle de Uco) called Ayni and Los Cedros.

Another winery producing organic wines is Dieter Meier (Ojo de Agua). For decades, the artist Dieter Meier was fascinated by Argentina and its resources. That is why he started to listen to the terroir and to produce high quality wines in the most fertile regions of the country in his vineyards in Mendoza. The Ojo de Agua winery produces wines that truly express the pristine essence of each grape.

The winemaker says, “Argentina is one of the few wine producing regions in the world that has the ideal climate for winemaking and a wide range of temperatures between day and night. Our organic grapes grow with arid, sunny days and cool nights”.

Andenweine is a certified shop for the commercialisation of organic wines, and with different organic wine proposals, both for red and white wines.

Gabriela Malagraba / @mividaenvinos

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