Sulfites in Organic Wine: An Update – The Gray Report

Wine writer, W. Blake Gray has posted an update on the hearings concerning sulfites in organic wine at the the National Organic Standards Board. For those of you unfamiliar with the issue – the use of additional sulfites in wine is one of the main dividing lines among organic winemakers. The Organic Wine Journal has friends on both sides of the argument.

Phaedra LaRocca Morrill, sales and marketing director of LaRocca Vineyards, a certified organic, no-sulfite winery in California, spoke first. She said sulfites are a synthetic that should not be allowed in wine; it\’s a powerful argument because most certified organic products cannot contain preservatives. She said organic vineyard acreage is increasing, and that 4 million cases of USDA Organic wine were sold in the US last year, which she said was testament to the strength of the category.

Paolo Bonetti, president of Organic Vintners, has the opposite view.

Bonetti said that Canada\’s organic regulations, which are nearly the same as the US\’ for most foods, allow sulfites in certified organic wine. (Apparently Australia and New Zealand do too.) Bonetti made a point I make all the time, that the weakness of organic wine as a category has led to a proliferation of \”green\” labels — sustainable, natural, eco-friendly, etc. — with nebulous or no certification process.

Andrew Waterhouse, Professor and Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, gave comments at well. Go to The Gray Report to get the full story.


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