Sustainable sippers, part 2: Wine

Winemaker Paul Dolan (photo by Evan Johnson)

Producers of organic wines include Bonterra, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, Paul Dolan Vineyards, as well as a host of European winemakers. And that’s good news, because more producers means more availability and a wider range of price points.

What makes it organic: Organic wines contain organically grown grapes, but not all are certified organic. That’s because winemakers may add sulfites, an antibacterial agent, to achieve a shelf-stable product. Many producers prefer to tout the biodynamics of a wine, says Brett Chappell, director of sales and marketing for Calypso Organic Selections, which imports organic wines from Europe, Australia, and South America. Biodynamics refers to a holistic, closed ecosystem, which includes companion cover crops, composting, and other practices to enhance biodiversity, improve the soil, and, ultimately foster better-tasting grapes, explains Colleen Stewart, wine educator at Bonterra.

Benefits: Grapes that have been cultivated organically have 30 percent more resveratrol, on average, than conventionally grown grapes, according to The Organic Center. Resveratrol is a phytochemical that has been shown to reverse neurological aging and promote liver health in animal studies. Organic wines can be a good value, too. Bonterra’s selections, for example, run $10-$15 a bottle.

Drawbacks: Organic wines can be confusing to identify, since they range from those that are certified organic to those made with organic grapes. Read labels closely.

Rose Berry Sangria

Rose has come on strong as a popular wine in recent years and lends itself to a colorful and refreshing version of sangria, the Spanish sipper.

1 (750-ml) bottle organic rose wine

1 cup fresh organic orange juice (no pulp)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon light agave nectar

2 cups assorted organic berries (raspberries, blackberries, and quartered strawberries)

  1. Combine wine, juices, and nectar in a large pitcher. Add berries; stir gently to combine. Chill at least 2 hours. Stir gently before serving, and pour over ice. Yield: 6 servings.

Also in this series:

Part 1: Wine, beer, and spirits hop on the organic bandwagon

Part 3: Vodka & Gin

Part 4: Mix with Care

Part 5: Sake

Part 6: Tequila