Transcript: Organic vs "Conventional" Wine

- Hello and welcome to the Lucky Rock Wine Lounge. I'm Jesse Inman.


- I'm Aaron "Moonflower" Inman.


- I coulda swore your name was Shocker.


- Not today. Today, I'm not wearing deodorant.


- Oh, brother, this guy stinks!


- And we're talking about organic wine.


- Those two things are highly correlated. I think we talked and we drank some organic wines on a previous episode. And if I remember correctly, they tasted something along the lines of fermented raccoon sphincters.


- Technically, those were not organic wines. Those were natural wines with no true definition.


- Indeed.


- But, they were gross.


- Wow.


- Howdy, folks. You findin' these episodes funny, informative, sometimes educational?


- You either, huh?


- All the above? Why don't you do us a favor and smash that big fat subscribe button at the bottom of the page. Yeah, we do other things too, believe it or not. Like make wine, for example. Blogs, we can check 'em out on our website.


- We sell that wine on the internet. You can buy it and join our mailing list.


- Have to feed my kids.


- I'm hungry! Today, we're gonna let you in on a couple things to keep I mind when buying organic wines. And the difference between organic wines and "made with organic grapes."


- Yeah, so's not to be fooled. We're gonna try these two wines. One if conventionally made, conventionally farmed. And the other one is organic.


- Organically farmed, organically made, you'll learn later, is actually correlated. And finally in this episode we're gonna answer, "Is organic wine truly better than just regular wine?"


- I mean, come on, man.


- Once and for all!


- But?


- Once and for all!


- All right, so let's dive into this topic of organic wine versus organic grapes.


- Let's.


- Where should we start?


- Well, there's organically produced wines and there's wines produced from organically farmed grapes. And they're correlated because you can't have one without the other, kind of thing.


- Sure.


- But organic certification is needed for the vineyards that are growing organically farmed grapes. Then, there's a, for organically produced wines, there's a whole litany of things you can and cannot do. You can't really add sulfur to organically produce.


- Yeah, you're not allowed to add sulfur after the vineyard.


- You can't add commercial yeast even though they're natural. You have to let wild yeast do the fermentation. There's no additives that you can use in organically produced wines. But organically farmed grapes, you can add, still add fining agents and things that you're, gonna change the wine.


- Yeah, a lot of the tools that you can use in organic wine making, outside of sulfur, you're not allowed to use sulfur at all. That's probably one of the major differences.


- Sulfur is produced naturally in fermentation, So there will be some sulfur in the wine, but it's not something that we can really add.


- It's not that you can't use anything here, but it has to be also organic. Like, actually, you can use yeast, but they have to be "organically made."


- Yes, and there's nutrients that you can, and I've used this, we made an "organic wine." It was an organically farmed grape wine. But I added some nutrient to it that was "organic certified."


- Okay, so we discussed the wine making side of organic, but when it comes to the grape growing side, is there any more details?


- Yeah, I think a lot of times people think that you aren't gonna be using any kind of chemicals whatsoever, no inputs into the vineyard. And in organic grape growing, the toolbox, again, is smaller, but you can still add chemicals. They just need to be deemed "naturally occurring" or "naturally derived," they're not synthetic.


- Like no Roundup.


- No Roundup, but like, a real common one is Stylet-Oil. Where as there is organic Stylet-Oil and there's just regular Stylet-Oil. And so there's implications like that. Powdery mildew is a great example. Powdery mildew, if you grow grapes in California, is something you're gonna deal with.


- They love humidity.


- They love humidity, like 69 to 75 degrees is kind of where it goes a little bit buck-wild. So maybe if you're doing an organic vineyard, kind of like, we made a wine from organic grapes. We did it from a warmer county.


- And so that warmer county, there's a smaller season of that perfect 69 to 75, with a little humidity, weather.


- Yeah, 'cause then you think over like 94, 95 degrees kills powdery mildew so you don't have to spray as much.


- Exactly. Yeah, and kind of what we were saying earlier, that's one of the major, I think, misnomers about organically farmed grapes is that they're completely natural, they're almost just left alone. And that's not necessarily true because there's actually a lot more, as we were talking about a few minutes ago, a lot more manipulation of the vines because of maximizing airflow, temperature, those kinds of things. And then, also, the sprays that you are using, like a-


- Yeah, if you ate the sprays that they're using, it'll still kill you.


- Hey, cool, I'm dead.


- Yeah, don't go huffin' the sprays.


- But they have to, they, because their organic sulfur, a lot of times. Then there's other sprays, but we'll hone in on that one. It's, they break down faster, so you actually have to apply them more frequently in the vineyard to make them active. Especially in areas maybe where you planted a vineyard that wasn't really conducive to going organic because it is maybe a little cooler.


- Yeah.


- Everything is about just not being an ecological at the end of the day.


- Yeah, we use that term a lot.


- And being intentional. Hmm, that sounds like a great tag line.


- Like wines made with intention not free tension?


- Something of that nature. If you're doing things intentionally, I think, there's a couple different ways to do it. So another thing that we really need to talk about is who's certifying these?


- Yeah, there's several different companies that'll certif- And they are companies, a lot of times. But they're accepted by the government body. And it changes from country to country, place to place. And so, when you say organic, is it organic by their standards? Or by their standards? Or by their standards? ♪ United States, Canada, Mexico, ♪ ♪ Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru ♪


- And is it from that country? Their standards, their standards, you know?


- And one of the major differences, I think it's easy to make this distinction in wine, is like, the European Union, where France, Italy, Spain, a lot of these countries that produce a lot of the wines that we import. You can actually add sulfites in the winery, in your wine making practices to a certain level. And I don't know the exact level. But that you can even add them at all is different than the USDA "organic wine" in the States. You cannot add sulfites whatsoever. So there's a big distinction right there. I think it's a little bit easier to make "organic wine" in Europe than it is here just because of that simple fact.


- Yeah, absolutely. So, like most things in business, it comes down to money.


- Hello, I like money.


- [Aaron] Little bit of cash.


- And so, what's the difference potentially there between organic and conventional?


- Sure, it's more expensive to farm organically. It's easier to understand prices in organics and conventional when you're at the grocery store with your apples or your blueberries.


- Yeah, it's very apparent.


- Yeah, the blueberries are $6.99 a tray and the conventional are $2.99.


- Blueberries-


- What?


- Are alcohol and I just. Are you having a stroke?


- Yeah, and a blueberry, it's harder to tell the difference, I think, than organically produced wine and traditionally made wines. The difference is apparent versus a blueberry, maybe is a little bigger or smaller. I don't know if you can tell the difference as much there as you can. There's a distinct difference, and maybe it's not as marketable.


- So why is it more expensive to grow grapes organically-


- I dunno, tell me.


- And make organic wine? Well, I have an answer for you. It is, record keeping is huge. A lot of times, smaller crops. Because you're having, you're growing it in areas maybe is not as conducive to growing grapes sometimes like we talked about earlier. Or just all of the labor that goes into having to manicure those vineyards. And then there's the certification itself which-


- Again, they're businesses.


- They're businesses, so just, those are just some, some like cost differences in conventional farming, wine making versus organic.


- So we'll probably taste the conventionally made wine first because sometimes if you taste an organic wine, they do have spoilages in them, spoilage organisms. And so they can be very distinctly aromatic and so, this one's probably gonna be less intense on the palate. You never know.


- We'll find out.


- Yeah, that's a presupposition.


- So we're drinking Camp is the brand. Made by Hobo Wine Company. It's a 2019 Mendocino zinfandel.


- Both made from grapes.


- Both, both made from grapes.


- Camp Zen. Hm, it's good.


- Smells good.


- Smells zenny.


- Yeah, a lot of like, lot of times, zen has a nice kind of brambly blackberry, raspberry. And it's got that and a little bit of toasty oak.


- Yeah. 13.5% alcohol so it's a little bit more on the reserved, lean side.


- Yeah, not too boozy.


- Yeah.


- It's good, tasty.


- So.


- Quaffable.


- Now, what is this next one?


- [Aaron] Frey USD Organic Wine.


- [Jesse] It literally says "organic wine," not produced from organically farmed grapes.


- And this is also a 2019 Mendocino zinfandel, but made under all, the strictest, really, certification you can be.


- And here, it says, "No sulfites added. No GMO yeast. No sulfites. No GMO yeast."


- Have you ever had a dream that, that you um, you had, you, you would, you...


- And also, no sulfites.


- Yay.


- Well, yay.


- Wow, that's a not distinct organic.


- No, there's nothing like, how we tried that natural wine awhile back. There, there's, these are pretty pure-


- Wow.


- Grape aromas.


- Yeah, that's a, I mean outside of the difference in the wine itself, I don't know if I'd be able to call this, peg this as organically produced. Is this one more expensive than that one?


- No, this retails for around $20 and this retails for around $20.


- I don't know, if you're idealistic, and you wanna have an organic produced wine, I would, I would, I mean, you'd have to go that direction 'cause the quality's high, the price is right.


- Yeah.


- [Announcer] The fabulous 60-minute Price is Right!


- And the quality's-


- Yeah, it's surprisingly


- I mean, sub-par.


- Pretty tasty. It's spicier than the first one-


- Yeah.


- For sure.


- And is that-


- Then again, like-


- Because of organic? Hard to say.


- Where as the camp maybe had a little bit fresher fruit. Which, you would think, maybe the shelf life-


- Shelf life might not be as long for this one. Just 'cause of the lack of sulfites. But, I mean, if you're drinking 'em young, that right there.


- Pretty tasty.


- Yeah. But this is a great wine too, it's just not as ideologically driven as that one is.


- Yeah, they have less tools in the tool belt.


- Yeah, I think, we're not, and we're not one way or the other. We've made wines that are produced with organic grapes. We've made wines that are not, but we know the growers and we know what they, what the inputs they're doing in the vineyard, and we're comfortable with the way they farm.


- It's not too hard to do, but we are 100% sustainably farmed grapes as well. But, again, that's not that hard to do here in Sonoma County or Napa County.


- So that said, we have never made an organic wine. And so this might be one of my first domestic US based organic wines and this one was pretty tasty.


- Yeah, the wine we produced this last year was damn near organically produced, but it, we added sulfites and things. So it can't, doesn't fit in that realm.


- And you'll have to join the mailing list for the prospecting series.


- That's right. We make a special wine every year. It's from a certain vineyard that we'll probably never use again or it's a grape from that vineyard that we've never used before. And so, it's fun. It keeps our kind of wine making juices alive.


- So there's a little foreshadowing.


- Yeah. All right, so that concludes our episode today. Hope you guys learned a little bit about the difference between organically made wine and, or wine made with organic grapes. I think it was educational for me.


- Yeah.


- I got to try my first USDA organic wine, and it was pretty tasty.


- Yeah, just like anything, we're just guys on YouTube. I mean, yeah we know a lot of stuff about things. But always do your own research. If you're curious about something that we didn't talk about or if we scratched the surface and you wanna dig deeper, go do your own research. It's ultimately on the consumer to know what they're putting in their body. And don't just be idealistic for the sake of being idealistic. Go do some research.


- And that's one of the fun things for us having our own wine company. We're constantly learning and getting better as well. And that comes with research.


- Keep learning or start dying.


- See yah, on the next episode.


- Cheers.