Eating organic has become second nature for those who enjoy the lifestyle. But when we talk about drinking organic, it would seem we have a lot to learn.
David Stansfield is the guru of wine. After working for eight years on the Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, BC, Stanfield now works as a consulting sommelier. Where one of his jobs is to teach the Sunday School series of wine classes at Vancouver Urban Winery. He has some rules when it comes to making sure your wine is just as organic as the food on your plate.
It’s Not All About the Grapes
“People tend to think all wine is somewhat organic, but there is a huge difference in how wines are made, and just as we make choices about the food we eat, we should be informed about the wine we drink too.”
When you hit the supermarket you may think you have got yourself an amazing deal on a cut-price bottle. But you need to be careful, as many cut-price bottles of wine can be made in the lab.
“There’s a misconception that all wine is natural; that is just grows and somehow happens, but just like any other foodstuff, the list of things that could be in your wine is long and shocking: from food dyes to refined sugar. Those are fine to put in your body if you want, but most people don’t know, and there are people who eat organic and then drink the wine equivalent of junk food.
So is it the Sulphites?
A lot of people around the world will worry about sulphites in their wines. Usually blaming them for any headaches or rashes that may appear. But for Stansfield, that isn’t exactly the truth: “There is a misconception about sulphites in the consumer market. It’s like the ‘gluten’ of the wine world!
“Absolutely, there are celiacs, and for them gluten is a serious issue. It’s the same for some people with genuine sulphur intolerance’s, but for the amount of people who say they have issues, that’s over-reported.”
Stanfield strongly believes that many of the sulphite reactions that are reported are most due to a histamine reaction: “Wine is food; the reaction people get is most likely coming from the skin of the grapes.”
Sulphur has been used for a long time as a preservative in the wine making process. It has the ability to kill any microbes and prevents oxidation. So many winemakers feel this is a vital part of the process to keeping the wine as fresh as possible.
The Most Important Thing To Look Out For
For Stanfield, the most vital part of the process is how the grapes are grown. And also the impact the process has on the earth around the grapes: “It’s all about the agriculture; we sometimes forget that connection, but wine is about growing fruit and the stewardship of the land. Growing organic means getting the best possible fruit for the wine.”
“The way i’d rationalize it is that a lot of the world’s best wines are organic and sustainably grown. It’s about the care that organic or sustainable viticulture requires to grow the grapes, so the best wines are the wines that are grown the best – not made the best – and they come from the best fruit, which will be better quality if the viticulture cares and puts in that labour.”
So the next time you go to purchase your bottle of wine, just keep in mind that you can also drink organic as well as eat organic.