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Growing Interest in 'Green' Wine

Growing Interest in 'Green' Wine

Organic grapes in the fall

Chicago Tribune

August 18, 2009

A growing number of Americans are taking second looks at what they’re buying for food to make sure they’re not only making the healthiest choice but the most environmentally friendly one as well. The interest in buying green extends to wine as consumers go local, buy organic and even search out lighter bottles that use up less energy in shipping.

There are a lot of terms and acronyms being bandied about these days, including “biodynamic,” “sustainable” and “100 percent organic.”

Tahmiene Momtazi, winemaker for the biodynamic Maysara Winery in McMinnville, Ore., said an increasing number of consumers know what these terms mean. More important for her, opinions are shifting on so-called “green” wines.

“There was once a time when people would see a biodynamic wine, and they’d say, ‘Oh, they don’t make good wine.’ Now they’re seeing that biodynamics can produce fine wines, and they’re more educated about these wines,” she said.

Still, there are wine lovers out there who may not quite grasp the green wine movement. Here’s a glossary to help you shop wisely.

Organic: Must be made from organically grown grapes. Label must reveal the certifying agency. No added sulfites allowed, but natural sulfites may be present. Sulfites occur naturally in nature. Added sulfites have long been used by winemakers as a preservative. Wines with a sulfite level of more than 10 parts per million must be labeled as containing sulfites.

Made with organic or organically grown grapes: Must be made from organic grapes. May contain added sulfites provided the total sulfites do not exceed 100 parts per million. Such wines may also be made using non-organically produced grapes, but the non-organic grapes must be identified, and the organically produced grapes must account for at least 70 percent of the ingredients.

Biodynamic: A method of farming that brings together a wide array of plants and animals to create a self-contained ecosystem that promotes good grape growing without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

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