We’ve all been there. Strolling through the fancy grocery store, eyeing up the overpriced freshly squeezed blood orange juice, wondering whether the weekly budget will stretch to frozen lobster mac and cheese, when we’re confronted by a row of organic pinot noir wine that seems strangely … intimidating. Well, we’ve got your back with our guide to organic pinot noir.
We’re ripping back the label and exposing all the secrets about pinot noir organic, including what the heck it is, whether it’s better for you, and what’s the difference between organic and natural wine so you can choose the best organic pinot noir for you. Cheers!
What is organic pinot noir?
If you’re currently yelling “it’s pinot noir that’s organic!” at the screen then yep, we hear you. However, what we’re really talking about here is what makes organic wine, well, organic. Turns out, there isn’t a straightforward answer.
That’s because the definition of organic wine, including organic pinot noir, depends on the country the wine is made in. Here in the US, it’s the USDA that defines what organic wines are. It ensures that organic wines are made from grapes grown without any chemicals (like artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides) and that all additional ingredients (like egg whites or rennet) are also certified organic. It’s good to note that organic wine can contain all these additional ingredients, a lot of which are animal products, so organic wine isn’t necessarily vegetarian or vegan wine.
According to the USDA, organic wine shouldn’t contain sulfites either. As sulfites are widely used in winemaking as a preservative to maintain the flavour and freshness of wine, organic wine might not last as long on your shelf.
Now, other pinot noir producing regions, especially in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have a different definition of organic. Although organic pinot noir must be made from organically grown grapes (i.e. no chemicals used), it may contain added sulfites.
Is organic pinot noir better for you?
Jury’s out on this. It would make sense to imagine that organic wine which doesn’t contain chemicals would be better for you and especially for your head the next morning. It’s widely known that organic farming is better for the planet, but so far there’s no solid evidence that organic wine is better for you or your hangovers.
If you’re really concerned about the health implications of drinking wine, maybe stock up on non-alcoholic pinot noir.
Organic vs natural pinot noir
You’re browsing pinot noir, you’ve chosen between pinot noir red and white, you’re tempted by an organic one, but then you spot natural pinot noir - what gives? While organic pinot noir has a proper definition (even if it’s different in different countries), so far natural wine doesn’t.
Like organic wine, natural wine uses certified organic grapes. Unlike organic wine, natural wine, on the whole, doesn’t add or remove anything. That means all the additional ingredients in organic wine (like egg whites or rennet) aren’t in natural wines. Natural wine is fermented using naturally occurring yeasts from the vineyard, rather than commercial yeasts, and these yeasts won’t be fed additional nutrients. Plus, whereas organic wine is filtered to remove small bits in the wine, natural wine isn’t. This makes natural wine cloudier.