It’s official – organic wine does taste better

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A group of Californian academics reviewed 74,148 wine tasting notes from three top wine publications (The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast) to see whether “eco-certified” wines tasted better.

“Eco-certified” means the wines were certified by an independent organisation to be organic or bio-dynamic. Organic wines are not permitted to use fungicides, herbicides or insecticides and have lower maximum levels of the preservative sulphur dioxide. Biodynamically-made wines also exclude fungicides, herbicides and insecticides but follow an almost mystical regime which respects the influence of the planets and a whole lot more.

The study found that a lot of eco-certified wine producers adopted organic and/or biodynamic methods because they thought their wine would taste better but they didn’t show it on the label. While eco-certified foods were perceived as tasting better and being better for us, many American consumers believe that there is a stigma attached to eco-certified wines according to the study.

In New Zealand, an increasing number of wines are now labelled as “organic”, although prestigious producers such as Dog Point (tastings) and Felton Road (tasting) don’t reveal their organic/biodynamic status on the label. Felton Road writes about “observing the natural rhythms of our ecosystem” but they don’t use the “biodynamic” word. That could soon change once the “organic wines taste better” message is accepted by wine drinkers.

The study concluded that those with eco-certification had a statistically significantly higher rating. In other words, they simply tasted better, according to the judges. I should say that all of the wines were tasted blind so the judges had no idea which were eco-certified and which were not.

The full report can be found at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2711839

One thought on “It’s official – organic wine does taste better”

  1. Huon Hooke
    Huon Hooke says:

    Bob, I often wonder whether such wines owe their quality to the fact that their producers simply try harder, are more thoughtful and focused on getting every extra 1% to work for them. I’m not convinced that studies like this one prove what they say they prove. Even if the wines do taste better, it’s not necessarily the fact that they are organic or BD that makes them so.

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