Annie Arnold, owner of Organic Wine Exchange, has deep roots in the wine world. Her grandfather, Morry started selling wine in 1938. “When you’re raised in such an environment, it becomes part of your blood. After years of working in and out of the wine business, I started to notice people asking about organic wines and I had no idea which wines to suggest. As time went on and I decided to start my own wine business, I looked into which wineries I wanted to represent, and I kept coming back to wineries that had a similar mission; healthy land, healthy grape, healthy wine. I could not get it out of my head and now it’s just part of my DNA,” shares Annie.
Organic Wine Is Nothing New
“The world has been making wine made with organic grapes longer than it has not been. It’s not a new fad, but rather a reintroduction to the way wine used to be made for centuries. Ever since industrialization and the need to feed the world, our country and many others have opted to grow crops that are laced with chemicals to get a better and more consistent yield. This has translated into all sorts of agriculture, and wine grapes happen to be one of them. “The pesticides, fungicides and herbicides on grapes do not get washed off, which go directly into the wine, and then into the blood stream. Our bodies were not meant to process all the chemicals and additives in many products today,” explains Annie.
More and more non-organic vineyards are ‘going organic’. Annie states, “Some top wine producers have taken major initiatives in adapting organic methods. Certifying a vineyard ‘organic’ with the USDA is just one way, but there are other wineries that are attempting to make a difference using farming systems like Biodynamics, which treats the vineyard as one living organism. ‘Made with Organic Grapes’ and ‘Organic Wine’ are different by definition, but both are terms coined by the USDA. The one thing they have in common is that they are both made with organically grown grapes. The main difference is that ‘organic wine’, can’t have added sulfites, and the winemakers have additional regulated winemaking processes they have to abide by.”
The Growing Organic Movement
Some of the vineyards leading the way to great organic winemaking include: LaRocca, Frey, Casa Barranca, Coates, Badger Mountain, and Coturri. Vineyards producing wines made with organic grapes include: Chacewater, Girasole, Jeriko, Alma Rosa, Heller, Kamen and Quintessa.
When asked for the reason behind the increasing number of organic wineries, Annie shares, “I believe like all of us, they are becoming more aware of the ramifications of not producing organic. It goes far beyond producing organic grapes. Farming organically helps preserve the land for future generations, and as time goes by, this is becoming more apparent.”
Consumer Awareness Is Low
In general, the public isn’t very aware of the ‘organic’ wine factor. “My experience is that most health-conscious, label-reading consumers are not aware that wines are not, by definition, organic. Most people think all wine is just made with grapes, but don’t consider the process of how it was created. Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough discussion on the subject. I don’t believe there‘s enough awareness yet, but my hope is that it is not too far away. The food industry has paved a path, and the ‘Right to Know’ campaign has created higher awareness of transparent product labeling. In time, I believe some of this will carry over to the wine industry. But it may be that the consumer has to demand it. It all begins with consumer awareness, and that is what our goal is,” states Annie.
About Organic Wine Exchange
Organic Wine Exchange (www.OrganicWineExchange.com) is an on-line wine shop dedicated to selling wines made with organic grapes and educating consumers about how these vineyards are making wine in a manner that’s better for the land and better for our health. When Annie decided to venture into her own business and find wineries to represent online, she realized organic wines and their winemakers were underrepresented in the retail world. Annie also discovered that there were few retailers focusing solely on selling wines made with organic grapes, and many didn’t have the selection or education-base that Organic Wine Exchange provides. Her website is not only a sales hub for wine, but also serves as a resource to learn more about the organic vineyard movement.
You can find these wines locally at Dish Creative Cuisine, Tropicale, ShareKitchen, or contact Annie at: (949) 945-7083, or www.OrganicWineExchange.com