What’s Behind a Glass of Organic Wine?

Ecological wines have gotten a bad rap for a long time. They’re part of what’s seen as a hippie movement, sometimes including a move to screw-top bottles (the horror!) and boxed wine. It’s no surprise that the wine world is in a tizzy over ecological wines as the next frontier in winemaking. The world of food is experiencing a similar upheaval; a recent return to “natural” processes away from highly processed food products has forced manufacturers to reconsider everything from their product offerings to advertising schemes.

The contradiction that we face as a society is apparent from the get-go. Dave McIntyre, of The Washington Post recently pointed out that we are delighted to purchase a tomato from the back of a pick-up truck at a farmer’s market but reluctant to look at organic wines for sale just one truck over. The image of Lucille Ball stomping on grapes in that memorable episode of “I Love Lucy” seems to dominate the public perception of how eco wines are made in someone’s backyard where too many pairs of less-than-clean feet stomp the grapes into wine.

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But in actuality we find that these eco wines do beautifully in blind tests with wine critics. While the processes covered by the “organic” wine certification are still in flux in the U.S., the reviewers used generally more positive words to describe the wines and the author noted that he himself found many of the eco wines more lively in taste.  Classifying a wine as organic is an expensive process as well, he points out, and that means that some of their products can get lost in the mix.

A winery like Barone Pizzini in Franciacorta takes specific measures to ensure that its wines are certified as organic and as the winery has grown, so has its influence on the wine industry. While some may still confuse eco labels with hippie tastes, the sophistication and liveliness of a sip of Barone Pizzini’s star products is enough to make everyone reconsider their previous assumptions. Grown on  47 hectares of carefully cultivated land, each of Barone Pizzini’s wines feature their own unique blend of traits and characteristics.

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