Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wine & Spirits: Cumulative List of Top 100 Wineries Since 1988: 27% Have Organic Vines

Wine & Spirits Annual Buying Guide is now on newsstands, featuring the Top 100 Wineries and the Top 100 Best Wines and Best Buys.

Each year the magazine selects from an international list of wineries for the year as well as a recap of which wineries have won Top 100 Winery Awards year over year since the rankings were developed beginning in 1988.

Selecting only those wineries with certified organic estate vines, which are used in their best wines, the following list of U.S. wineries emerges:

17 Awards

Ridge Vineyards (in transition; will be 100% in 2016)

14 Awards

Qupé (Sawyer Lindquist wines)

12 Awards

Storybook Mountain (all wines)

8 Awards

Frog's Leap (all wines, )
King Estate (500 acres of vines; 3 small lot wines, 2,000 cases are organically grown)

7 Awards

Benziger (7% of 100,000 case total production)
Grgich Hills (all wines; 70,000 case production)

I am not as familiar with the foreign entries, but a few stand out as being wineries I know that are Biodynamic (and organic) and that is Chapoutier (12 awards over the years) as well as Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. Add to this list Dr. Loosen in Germany, a renowned organic Riesling producer, and Schuchmann, an organic vintner from Georgia (in the former Soviet Union).

That makes a total of:
7 U.S. wineries
2 French wineries
1 German winery
1 Georgian winery

What percentage of the total number of wineries on this list do the organic vineyards represent? 11 out of 37 is 27%, or 10 times more than the average. (Organic vineyards in the U.S. amount to just 3% of all vines.)

Do organic grapes make better wines? I'll leave that question up to you to answer.

In addition, five of these wineries - Benziger, Chapoutier, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Grgich Hills and Qupé - are Biodynamic, which means 5 out of 37 wineries are "BD." That makes 13.5% of the top wineries over time, again more than ten times the average (fewer than 1% of all vines in the U.S. are from Biodynamic vines).

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