Portuguese organic wines - and those from the rest of the world - are no longer new, but the reality is that their representation in relation to traditional wines is still very low. France has about 4% of its wines certified as organic wines and expects to grow until 2022 to a quota of around 8%. We are talking about the world leader in sales of these wines.
For those of us who know the virtues of a good organic wine by heart, this leads us to question: Why these wines, sold worldwide, have not yet grown exponentially in terms of sales. Perhaps the explanation lies in the marks left by a certain fundamentalism, when this movement started, that retracted some wine consumers.
When tasting organic wines, there were those who felt great differences in relation to conventional wines and not in the best sense. People felt strange taste and sometimes even unpleasant flavors. But in the meantime, a lot has changed ...
Today winemakers have already realized that Portuguese organic wines cannot escape the taste of conventional wines.
They have to stand out for their purest aromas and flavors and their stability and longevity in the bottle must be guaranteed. If we continue this work, we will undoubtedly recover wine lovers and grow exponentially in the coming years, as we all know that the Earth needs this help.
Organic wines are the result of the production of organic grapes. Until 2012, in the European Union, there was no legislation for organic wines. Only the designation "wine made from organically growned grapes" was used and the winemaker at the winery had no rules to comply with in the production of these wines. As of that year, rules and limits were implemented in the production of organic wines, including the reduction of the maximum limits for sulfites or sulfur dioxide in these wines.
In the United States of America the current rules are different. Only organic wines are considered to be those in which no sulfur dioxide has been added. For the remaining wines, the nomenclature of “wine made from organically growned grapes” is still used.
Portuguese organic wines are still a very small fraction of wines in general. The good news is that there is already an interesting percentage of vineyards under organic production that is not yet expressed in the production of Portuguese organic wines.
I believe that this reality of organic viticulture will continue to increase and that more organic wines will outcome.
Since Beira Interior is the region with the highest amount of certified organic vineyards, this should also be the region with the most organic wine producers. It is there that Casca Wines produces its organic wines, being today the number one producer of Portuguese certified organic wines in the country.
In Alentejo, Herdade do Esporão already has six hundred hectares of organic vineyards, but the production of organic wines is still limited. In all other regions, we also find small producers who, in addition to organic grapes, also have their wines certified as organic.
Organic Vinho Verde Wine still has little production of grapes under organic management. We, Casca Wines, although we are not yet producers of organic Vinho Verde, are committed to looking for producers capable of helping us produce our organic Vinho Verde.
The differences between conventional and organic wines are many.
It all starts with the way vineyards are treated. Vinegrowers and organic grape producers cannot use any herbicide or pesticide or product that has been synthesized. To a large extent, they are limited to using only copper-based solutions and sulfur.
As with any good product, the raw material is the essence of it.
And in wines this is very visible. Thus, organic grapes are born from the start with quite different characteristics, which is further reflected in wines.
Also in the cellar, the rules are different, aiming at less intervention in wine production. For example, oenological products from organic production are used. One of the most important rules in the production of Portuguese organic wines, whether from Beira Interior, Alentejo, Douro, Vinho Verde or any other region is the reduction of the amount of sulfites to be used.
This rule obliges winemakers to work very well in the cellar and to be less involved in the production of organic red, white or rosé wines, whether they are organic Vinho Verde or Beira Interior organic wine. In the case of organic red wine, polyphenolic compounds help the winemaker a lot, as they are antioxidant compounds, which in organic white wine or organic rosé wine exist in much lower concentration, hence the sulfite limit in organic red wine is lower than in white or rosé.
Today it is increasingly easy to buy organic wine. The Casca Wines online store has all types of organic wine. Organic red wine, organic white wine, organic rosé wine, organic reserve wine. We just haven't - yet! - organic vinho verde wine, but we headed there.
It is also possible to buy in any hypermarket, as they all have a space for Portuguese organic wines and, of course, in specialized stores, such as Celeiro or El Corte Inglés.