We just blinked, and somehow, we’re half-way through Organic September already – the Soil Association’s month-long campaign to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming. To celebrate, we asked local sustainable food blogger HungryCityHippy to share her thoughts on organic food (and wine) with us – it might inspire you to give a new organic tipple a try.
“As a food blogger with a keen interest in sustainability, I try to choose organic wine as often as I can. And that’s because, for a product to be certified as organic, it must meet a very strict set of standards – covering everything from pesticide use and land management, to preservation and storage.
Firstly, organic wines must meet strict criteria regarding the use of pesticides; in fact, of the 300 or so pesticides permitted under EU law, just 20 are permitted under organic standards, and all of those are derived from natural ingredients.
Instead, organic farms promote better biodiversity by encouraging pest control via natural methods e.g. planting flowering plants between vines to attract natural predators of grape-eating insects – or keeping small sheep to graze between the vine rows, eating the grass and weeds. As a result, organic farms often become havens for wildlife, providing homes for bees, birds and butterflies, and the mammals that prey on them.
Organic wines can also benefit the soil they grow from. Whilst intensive, non-organic wine making can increase levels of soil erosion (widely documented in the Prosecco-growing regions of northern Italy), organic farming can reduce soil erosion by encouraging strong root structures and nutrient rich soil. The practice of planting hedgerows, trees and cover crops can protect the topsoil, too. This is important because whilst soil degradation itself is a problem, erosion can also lead to increased pollution of nearby streams and rivers, clogging waterways and damaging fish and other species.
In general, choosing organic wine is an easy way to do something positive for the planet, but it’s important to remember that just because a wine is organic, doesn’t make it ‘healthier’. Whilst it will likely contain less sulphur dioxide (a common preservative in wine thought to be the main culprit for hangovers), if you drink enough of it, you may still need a strong coffee and a pair of sunglasses to get through the next morning – take my word for it!”
Here are a couple of certified organic wines for you to try for yourself:
This Graves blanc is fresh with rich citrus and floral aromatics alongside a mineral texture. Grassy, but not overpowering, with a mouth-watering finish that makes you want to pour yourself another glass.
This is an organic red Rioja from Marques de Caceres. Bright ruby red in colour, it has a floral bouquet with notes of lively red berry fruits. Fresh, succulent red fruit flavours.
My name is Jane and by day, I am a freelance content marketing and PR consultant, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. I mainly work with independent food and drink brands, festivals and restaurants – a portfolio of clients I have built from a genuine love for food & drink. For more information, please visit my personal twitter, @janechicomendes.
My blog – HungryCityHippy – is my little passion project; a corner of the internet where I can write about the things I love, the things I hate, and the things I think are important. It’s primarily a Cardiff-based food and travel site, but with a focus on sustainability, greener living and environmental responsibility.
Like lots of people, in my spare time I love cooking, eating out, and travelling to new places – so there’s lots of that here on my blog – but I also believe that we all have a responsibility to enjoy those things without causing damage to the world around us.