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Update: More on Low-Sulfite Wines (Holiday Edition)

Happy Holidays to all, and greetings from sunny FL!

A (very) quick update on my last post regarding low-sulfite wines, just to prove I'm not totally biased against all organic / biodynamic wines!

I've come across a few other quality wines (featured in body + soul magazine, to which my wife subscribes) that I've recently learned are either organically or biodynamically made (or both), and that I've found to be of good quality...

Thought I'd take a brief moment during my holiday respite to share these wine finds with you. Hope that anyone looking for low-sulfite wines (that don't also totally suck!) will find this helpful:

  • Bonterra Vineyards - Most of their wines are organic, and they make at least one decent wine that's also biodynamic.
  • Fetzer - All organic, with a big focus on recycling during production and distribution.
  • Frey - Both organic & biodynamic, and vegan to boot!
  • Quintessa - Fully biodynamic since 2005; probably the most fabulous biodynamic wine you'll find out there, but you'll pay for it!


Anonymous said...

All Bonterra wines are organic, and the reds use a fair amount of biodynamic fruit as well, in both cases, all certified. The whites are vegan. Fetzer's wines are sustainable, not organic. The organic vineyards farmed by Fetzer are actually for Bonterra. Both have been leaders in all aspects of the sustainable movement for more than 20 years, with much information on their respective websites, Bonterra.com and Fetzer.com

Bonterra adds a small amount of sulfites, which is why it is categorized as "made from organically grown grapes" and not listed as an organic wine.

Can't go wrong with either.

Joe Roberts said...

Thanks for the comment, and the clarification.

I agree - both are producing some quality stuff!

Karl Goldfield said...

I like your format and enjoy your posts. I have a real love hate relationship with sulfites as I know they bring out so many complex flavors, but if I forget the anti-histamines, a couple bottle later I am in trouble.

Anyways, feel free to drop in and check out my new blog about making wine from Nebbiolo grapes. A journey my wife and I are about to undertake.

Karl Goldfield

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post (and the series that led up to this clarification).

I think that the US regulations have made a mess out of what should be a (relatively) uncomplicated issue. In Europe, wines are allowed to be labeled as organic when they contain sulfites (as long as the sulfite level isn't too high). In the USA, a winery that uses any sulfites in its winemaking can't use the designation organic. Instead, they're relegated to the designation "made with organic grapes" which is used for other products that are less than 75% organic.

That leaves producers like us, who farm organically (we're actually certified) without an attractive option on our labels. And, as long as the best winemakers are not anxious to mix with organic-labeled wines (labeled organic for the market that prides organic products more than it does fine wines) it's going to have the perverse effect of discouraging organic viticulture.

I wrote about this at some length on our blog a while back.

Also, in response to Karl's comments above, if an anti-histamine solves his wine-drinking problems, it's not sulfites he's sensitive to. Grape skins contain histamines, which many (many!) more people are sensitive to than sulfites. Most of the people who think they're sulfite-sensitive can try one as a simple test. If it helps, sulfite allergies are almost always respiratory, while histamine allergies take the form of headaches, itchy eyes, flushed skin, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the good work!

All the best,

Jason Haas
Tablas Creek Vineyard

Joe Roberts said...

Thanks, Jason!

Been checking out your site - you guys make a Tannat!?! Awesome... Any chance I can find some of it in PA?


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