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Why I Drink Organic Wine – Part 4

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In my first post on why I drink organic wine, I discussed what I value in a wine: character, expression, purity of fruit, complexity, and personality. I did not discuss a very important element in that post — the concept of terroir — which is what I want to talk about today.

Wines that have terroir embody “a sense of place” of where they were grown and made. Terroir is generally considered to encompass the characteristics in a wine that are created by the geography, climate, and geology of a vineyard or region or appellation. I’ve touched upon how organic farming impacts the main factors of terroir in my second and third posts, where I discussed the impact that industrial agrochemicals can have on our vineyard soils, grapevines, the future vintages of wines, as well as the environment as a whole.

I believe there is another factor of terroir, which is that “a sense of place” can embody not just the land and environment, but also the culture, history, and people that farm and make the wine, and also that live in the community where the wine was made. And protecting this terroir influence of culture, history, and people is yet another reason I drink organic wine.

Reason #4 – Organic Farming Is Better for Farming Communities

Organic farming is not only better for the land and environment, but it is also better for farming communities. I support organic farming because, on one hand, protecting farming communities will protect the delicious wines that these communities produce. But on another hand, I am extremely grateful to these farmers and winemakers for producing these wines that have positively impacted my life, and I believe that I should support these people who have given me that gift. Here are a few of the ways that organic farming protects farming communities:

Prevention of Diseases in Farm Workers and Farm Residents Linked to Agrochemicals

There are well-documented health risks for people who live on or near farms that use agrochemicals, who apply agrochemicals, and also who live with people who apply agrochemicals. Agrochemical applicators commonly develop skin and respiratory problems from working with and exposure to the agrochemicals. Applicators also are at higher risk for diminished nervous systems and a variety of cancers, including brain tumors, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Women who live on farms or who live with partners who apply agrochemicals have a high incidence of chronic bronchitis, and can also have a variety of reproductive problems including birth defects and miscarriages. In addition to increased dangers of asthma, developmental delays, and birth defects, children residing on farms that use agrochemicals have higher rates of all types of cancer, especially lymphatic cancer.

Creation of Jobs in Farming Communities

Organic farming generally requires more labor and employs more people than conventional farming. On an organic farm, the team must spend more time managing weeds and monitoring for pests and diseases, to ensure that any problems are addressed by organic solutions early to prevent widespread damage to the crop. Also, the methods that organic farming encourages for soil management and conservation, such as the creation and application of composts and manure and the planting of cover crops, are typically more labor-intensive than the use of agrochemicals in conventional farming. Furthermore, for wineries that are certified organic, the maintenance of the compliance paperwork is additional labor that could result in additional jobs.

Preservation of Farmlands for Future Generations of the Community

As discussed in my second and third blog posts, organic farming helps keep the soils, vines, and ecosystems healthy, and also protects biodiversity and water sources, thus enabling future generations of the farming community to successfully thrive. Organic farming is thus good for the long-term sustainability of a community. Furthermore, organic farming prevents damage to neighboring farms in the community by eliminating pesticide drift. In communities where some farmers utilize agrochemicals, some of these chemicals “drift” through the air or through soil/water runoff onto neighboring farms, causing damage to the crops and the land. A farm that utilizes organic practices does not do damage to its neighbor, and the community is better off as a whole.

What are your thoughts?

These are my reasons for choosing organic wine. How do you feel about organic wine? Has this information helped convince you to give organic wines a chance?

Use the comment section below to tell us about your experience with organic wine.

Previous Posts on Organic Wine:
Why I Drink Organic Wine – Part I
Why I Drink Organic Wine – Part II
Why I Drink Organic Wine – Part III
FAQ on Sulfites in Wine