Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions Worth Making: Make Yours Organic in 2012

If you're looking for a resolution that's easier to keep than losing weight, consider resolving to drink more organically grown wine in 2012.

Here are my top tips on how to make that happen:

1. Look for deals online

Join a few wine clubs (McFadden and Barra of Mendocino would be good ones to start off with) that offer ONLY organically grown wines. Order by the case, especially when big sales are on (both of the above mentioned have had sales in the past three months of 35-60% off), and store wine in your basement. Find what you like. It doesn't have to be expensive. These two wineries aren't.

2. Shopping at a store? Buy Bonterra

Can't manage to order by the case? If you're the type who only buys a few bottles at a time, seek out Bonterra, the organic market leader. My favorites are the Riesling but buy any varietal you like. Bonterra is the most widely distributed organically grown wine in the country.

Everything they make now is reasonably priced ($11-15ish).


Trader Joe's doesn't carry much organically grown wine - and especially not from the U.S.

4. DON'T BUY WINE in the supermarket checkout lane.

I have never seen an organically grown wine in the checkout lane. Buy by the case from the winery.


Use The Map on this web site to find organic wineries to tour. There are more than 150 in the U.S. that offer at least one organically certified wine.


Seek out, patronize, and compliment restaurants that serve organically grown wine. ASK IF THE WINE IS CERTIFIED. Local restaurants that serve AND LABEL organically grown wines are the best. Unfortunately this is a very short list (Green's and perhaps a few others). Most wine lists do not distinguish between certified versus noncertified. Ask the server to identify which wines are certified grown organically. Examine the bottle if they are unable to tell you. Ask the wine director at the restaurant why they don't list certified wines separately. Ask them to carry certified organically grown wines. Write Yelp reviews complimenting restaurants that carry certified organically grown wines.

Bring organically grown wines to restaurants (and pay the corkage fee) if they don't have any on their wine list. Share with your server the reason why you are bringing the wine you have selected to bring (i.e. that it is organically grown).

7. Find your favorites.

Just like the rest of the wine industry, there are organically grown wines to fit every budget and every palate. Find the ones you like - and tell your friends about them when you serve them. Ask them to bring only certified organically grown wines to your house when they join you for a meal or party. Just try it out.

8. Join the Organic Wine Uncorked Meetup group!

Come taste and tour with us. Click here.

9. Map the pesticides in your county or in the state.

If you live in a wine growing region, or are just curious, use the California State Dept. of Public Health's Agricultural Pesticide mapping tool to see where herbicides and pesticides are being used to grow wine grapes. This is a big motivator to get acquainted with the good guys who are making wine organically - yes, you WANT to support them!

10. Ask yourself why, if you're into organically grown food, you and your friends aren't paying closer attention to organically grown wine.

It's a very good question to contemplate. Wines made with pesticides contribute more than 450,000+ pounds of Roundup to California each year. That just can't be a good thing for an ecosystem.

Know anyone who has cancer? It's not an accident that introducing 26 million pounds of ingredients into the ecosystem this year to grow wine grapes coincides with out of control cancer rates. We don't know how/why/etc. but we can take sensible precautions and be kinder to Mother Earth. An ecosystem is a dangerous thing to waste.

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