Thursday, April 26, 2012
Dallas-Fort Worth grocers stock up on organic wines
California wineries are leading the way in organic wines, but Texas wineries are also switching to organic methods.
Wine lovers have a lot to consider when choosing a good wine. Now many are pondering the organic factor as they make their selection.
According to Bennette Fruge, a wine specialist at Central Market in Fort Worth, he’s seen an increased demand for organic wines. This echoes reports of increased demand for other green products in Dallas & Fort Worth, and as a result the store is stocking up on eco-friendly wines.
“We have expanded our organic wine selection quite a bit over the past six to twelve months,” he said.
Central Market in Fort Worth carries more than 20 organic wines. However, Fruge said they are not all labeled as such. The wine expert said some wineries are using organic methods but have not applied for certification due to the expense and effort or they’re prohibited because of nonorganic practices. “Natural wines” has become the buzzword used for wines that use minimal chemicals along with low-tech methods.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, in order to receive the USDA’s organic label, wines must be made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients and not include added sulfites. Sulfites occur naturally in grapes and in many other substances. They’ve been added to wine for thousands of years as a preservative for aging, according to Will McClatchey, director of research at BRIT in Fort Worth. However, they’ve come under scrutiny because some people are highly allergic to sulfites or may be sulfite sensitive.
In order to accommodate those wineries still using sulfites, wines that use organic grapes can be labeled as having organic ingredients, even if they contain the additives.
Matt Lawrence, Specialty Associate Coordinator for the Southwest Region at Whole Foods, said Whole Foods has authorized more than 100 wines with organic ingredients for stores to carry with about a dozen of those certified organic by the USDA or California Certified Organic Farmers.
As for how they taste, wine experts say the organic versions are improving. Lawrence recommends a red blend called Roule Rouge from California, and Spartico, an organic Tempranillo from Spain. Meanwhile, Fruge touts a Chardonnay from Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley.
“It is by far my favorite Chardonnay of what we sell -- both organic and nonorganic.”
Other popular and affordable organic wines, according to Fruge, include Chimango, made by an Argentinian wine maker, and wines produced by California-based Frey, which advertises as “America’s first organic winery,” and Parducci Wine Cellars, which received the International Award of Excellence for Sustainable Wine from the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in 2011.
Fruge said while California wineries are leading the way in organic wines, Texas wineries are also switching to organic methods.
According to BRIT’s McClatchey, going organic is nothing new for the wine industry.
“Until 50 years ago, all the wine in the world was grown organically,” he said.
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