WINE COL: Healthy Living Through Wine


One of the most commonly asked questions in my shop is “Do you carry organic wine?”  I do have a nice selection of organic, biodynamic, sustainable, no sulfite added, natural, gluten free and vegan wines.

Now, what is the difference?

The basic principles to be organic is that all additives (fining agents, yeast, etc.) are organic, no GMO’s are allowed including sulfur (aka sulfites). Resource management in terms of water and energy efficiency in the vineyard in the winemaking process makes up the sustainable definition. Biodynamic farming has a more holistic agricultural approach such as focusing on soil health, irrigation and planting within lunar cycles.

So, can a wine be natural, organic and gluten free? Yes. Or, biodynamic, no sulfite added and vegan? Yes. Or all of the above? Yes.

Honig Winery in Napa Valley has been sustainably farming since 1964. They use solar energy, composting, recycling, drip irrigation and planting cover crops. I’ll feature their 2015 Napa Sauvignon Blanc ($16) as our warm weather months are near. Refreshing and bright acidity lends a crisp freshness to the flavors of peach, passionfruit, and lemongrass, artfully balanced by a touch of freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime. It’s perfect for summer – juicy and refreshing with aromas of jasmine, peach, and grapefruit rind.

Montinore Estate in Willamette Valley, Oregon, farms using organic and biodynamic practices. The 2015 Red Cap Pinot Noir ($20)  is medium bodied with bright fruit, herbal notes and aromas of strawberry, cherry, blackberry, dried fruit and lilac.  The palate is bursting with cherry, strawberry, bittersweet chocolate and spice balanced by bright acid and well-structured tannins.  

Domaine Bousquet in Mendoza, Argentina,  grows grapes in high altitude, organically with no pesticides. The 2015 GAIA Red Blend  ($15) is 50 percent malbec, 45 percent syrah and 5 percent cabernet sauvignon. It’s an elegant full-bodied wine, dense purple in the glass, with aromas of red and black berries. It has layers of silky and round tannins with notes of blackberry, plum and spice and a long, smooth finish.  

So, check out this category of wine. You may be surprised that many of your favorites may be organic, biodynamic or sustainable! Enjoy!

Edith Swierzbinski is owner of 4th and Vine, a boutique wine shop in St. Petersburg.