Beverage Industry

Why isn't more wine 'organic'?

Why isn't more wine 'organic'?

This sounds familiar: a national consumer group is fighting to maintain organic standards against industry people who want to weaken them. But when it comes to "organic wine," the well-meaning consumers may actually be discouraging more organic farming.

That's because of a quirk in the labeling laws. Currently for a wine to be labeled " USDA Organic" — a coveted seal of approval for most foods — it must have no added sulfites. However, most winemakers feel that sulfites are crucial in winemaking — they discourage spoilage and preserve fresh fruit flavors. Unlike most organic products, wine may sit for years before being opened. Furthermore, most...