We are all aware of the growing need and awareness for organic produce as consumers demand cleaner, healthier food and drink production methods. What about wine? Is organic wine production possible? What would define a wine as an organic wine?
Consumers, environmentalists and even politicians have been demanding more organic drinks and organic wines have been produced before but have been accused of being not interesting. Most of the worlds best wines are produced in ways that a very far removed from the organic process.

When thinking about organic wines the first thing to think of is what the term organic means to you as an individual.
With organic wine you have wine free from synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers. They are also free from artificial colourings and preservatives, things usually added to their non organic cousins.
So why the need for organic?The belief is that much of our produce has been damaged by slow chemical build up from the the use of these synthetic products during the production process, and that consuming these products is not healthy. Allergies and more serious health problems have been associated with the slow build up of these chemicals in our bodies. There is also the issue of these chemicals leaking into the water supply and tainting the water. This alone has led to changes in the way many crops are produced.
Many commercial crops use these synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to protect the crop and kill anything that can damage crop production. Constant use of these products damages the soil and leads to soil erosion. Many pests are also building resistance to the pesticides causing the need for more and more types of chemical combination's that are needed to succeed.

The obvious alternative is organic production. Organic farming takes more time as the Eco system needs time to re-invigorate itself, it also means weeding by hand!
A good idea is to find predators of the pests in the vineyard and introduce them. This not only protects crops naturally but creates a balanced Eco-system. Fertilizer can still be used but it will be animal or plant compost whilst planting flowers and herbs around the vineyard will enhance bio-diversity.
Black rot and mildew are two additional problems that vineyards in particular face. Both of these can ruin the crop and even the entire vineyard. Thus growing organic wine in areas where there is a lot of humidity is particularly difficult. Organic wine production is best done in hot dry regions where the risk of fungal attack is lowered.

Finally once all your hard work in creating your organic vineyard has been done you need certification by one of the international bodies. Organic wine production is harder but with hard work and imagination can be very financially productive as well as being environmentally friendly.