As a follow up to my post on the 2008 Cap-Rock Viognier that was produced from 100% Organic grapes, my fellow blogger @StevePaulo made a really good point on Twitter. His comment was -
"Does it matter? 'Made from Organic Grapes' means the rest of the process isn't organic. What's the advantage, in general?"
I think that is does matter, but his point is well taken. I thought I would break down my thoughts on this issue.
All that a wine has to do to put "Made From Organic Grapes" on the label, is be made from certified organic grapes. The wine can still have sulfides, and be made with non-organic methods. This means that a lot of the benefits of a truly organic wine are missing from the process. So what good is it?
There are a lot of reasons why people support organic products and agriculture. Some of these reasons are related to health benefits and the like, while others have to do with earth friendly practices. I think that it is far better for the land when organic farming practices are used. This benefit is taking place in a wine made from organic grapes, even if the wine itself still uses non-organic practices. I even think that there is some benefit to using organic fruit, but I have absolutely no data to support this.
This is where it's really at when it comes to organic designations in wine. Not only do the grapes have to be organic, but the wine can't contain added sulfides. I definitely think that this is the ideal situation. You get all of the benefits of the organic grapes, but you also have a wine-making process that is free of some of the junk that goes into normal wines.
That's a whole different post, and I couldn't possibly do it justice here.
I think that it's a step in the right direction. I'm taking a little bit of a Field of Dreams approach to the whole thing, and saying, "if you grow it, they will make organic wines." I hope that some brave Texas winery will produce an organic Texas wine someday soon, but only time will tell. Right now there simply aren't enough organic grapes being grown in the state for wineries to produce organic wines. I have heard tell that Becker has looked into producing organic wine from out of state grapes, but I don't know this for certain. Hopefully the arrival of a wine produced from organically grown grapes will be the harbinger of an organically produced wine made from Texas grapes, but my guess is that we are still a ways off from that.
By the way, if you haven't checked out Steve Paulo's blog, Notes From the Cellar, I highly recommend it.