Veronique Raskin on \”Made With Organic Grapes\”

Veronique Raskin, of the Organic Wine Company, gives her opinion of the sulfite issue in her latest newsletter:

Cutting to the chase, you may or may not realize this, but we, the certified organic wine makers of old, are currently caught between the \”N.S.A.\” (No Sulfite Added) winemakers and the \”sustainable\” winemakers, which sit all the way on the other side of that pendulum, obeying no third party verified standards that I\’m aware of. To simplify, on one hand we have the nothing-goes crowd and on the other we have the anything-goes crowd. It\’s sort of like being caught between the Baptist Church and the Flower Children- you know what I mean, no insult meant to either of these groups.
 
I like to think of myself and my company as someone who tries to follow the Golden Rule, I do my homework and I weigh my decisions carefully for collateral benefits and damages. The golden path is precisely where the wines that we have chosen to import since 1980 and the movement that we have pioneered lies: right in the middle on that Golden Path. This is not a matter of political or financial convenience, but a matter of deliberate conscious choice. Currently however, our style of organic wines manages the extraordinary feat to be at once \”not pure\” enough (by NSA standards) to deserve to be called organic and get the USDA Seal of approval and \”too pure\” by sustainable standards. This is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.
 
To add or not to add sulfites into a wine that\’s then called \”organic\” is indeed the question. Commercial and noncommercial entities have taken positions on this (non) issue, largely based on misinformation not facts. Based on the results, it is hard to feel respect for these entities. Indeed, after five decades of dedicated organic farming and of obeying the rules, we, makers of wine made with third party certified organic grapes, we are being squeezed out of the game. On very arguable grounds our wines are only allowed the lesser label \” made with organic grapes.\” We the elders, are being treated like useless, aging parents. We are the have-beens of the movement while never really having \”been\” in the first place! It is quite a tour de force, as we say in French, I didn\’t realize that something or someone could be at once ignored, opposed and diluted… I thought that this happened sequentially to trailblazers…. But no, I found out that this can also happen simultaneously, it sure has with us.
 
I find this situation offensive, harmful to everyone and disrespectful to the pillars of organic viticulture, the mensches on whose shoulders we now all stand, incredibly courageous people who, as far back as 1965, decided to convert their small 20 acre family property to organic farming practices. Keep in mind that at that time, going organic wasn\’t sexy, cool or lucrative. To the contrary, it was very risky: financially, socially and otherwise. These guys are real pioneers, the unsung heroes of our industry and they are currently being disregarded and disrespected by the labeling practices and by the new crowd which includes the Holier-Than-Thous, corporate hypocrites, well meaning but misinformed bureaucrats and nuevo-greens…. that evident disrespect is annoying and plain wrong. Honor Thy Parents, It says, and there are many good reasons for that. One of them being that it\’s hard to honor yourself, if you do not honor where you come from.
 
Rather than merely expecting divine justice, I decided to take matters into my own hands and went searching for writers who would be interested in exploring the truth behind the hype, the sulfite hysteria and all manners of myth alive and well in our industry. \”The Truth shall make us free.\”

Stay tuned! I ended up connecting with a substantial number of wine journalists and I feel incredibly rewarded by their support and interest in our story.


Comments

2 responses to “Veronique Raskin on \”Made With Organic Grapes\””

  1. Martin O'Reilly Avatar
    Martin O’Reilly

    My name is Martin O’Reilly. I’m currently working on a research paper, at the University of California at Santa Cruz, regarding the difficulties of marketing Organic wine and wine made with organic grapes. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the subject as research to contribute to my paper. please email me if this would interest you. Thanks, and thanks for the great work you do.
    Martin

    1. Organic Wine Journal Avatar
      Organic Wine Journal

      Hi Martin, you should get in touch with Veronique directly. Her website is http://www.theorganicwinecompany.com/index.php.

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