Summertime Sippers: Sustainable and Organic Wines

Crisp, fruity, chilled and all-around refreshing, these sustainably produced wines are perfect for the hot days ahead.
By Tabitha Alterman
June/July 2011
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Wines from more sustainable operations are becoming increasingly available across the country.

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High summer is the season for sipping — hand-squeezed citrus ades, fresh cucumber water, homemade sweet tea. And what could be more refreshing than bright West Coast wines that are just as lively enjoyed solo as with a healthy, garden-fresh meal? The vineyards below offer white, rosé and light-bodied red wines that pair perfectly with light, warm-weather fare, and all are sustainable operations that nurture the fertile soils on which they sit.

Badger Mountain Vineyard
Kennewick, Wash.

Benziger Family Winery
Glen Ellen, Calif.

Bonterra Organic Vineyards
Mendocino, Calif.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Beaverton, Ore.

Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden
Jacksonville, Ore.

DeLoach Vineyards
Santa Rosa, Calif.

Frey Vineyards
Redwood Valley, Calif.

Frog’s Leap
Rutherford, Calif.

Hall Wines
St. Helena, Calif.

Montinore Estate
Forest Grove, Ore.

Tablas Creek Vineyard
Paso Robles, Calif.

Red, White and Green? The Many-Splendored Confusions of Sustainable Wines

Like most farms in the United States, most vineyards today are not organic, meaning they rely on chemical pesticides rather than natural viticulture. However, wines from more sustainable operations are becoming increasingly available across the country, so you may have noticed a variety of “green” labeling claims on wine packaging. Here’s what those labels mean:

Organic. Must be made from organic grapes, but can include added sulfites (used as preservatives).

100% Organic. Must be made from organically grown grapes, and cannot have any added sulfites. It may have naturally occurring sulfites (some can be a byproduct of fermentation), but the total level must be less than 20 parts per million.

Biodynamic. Whole farms, rather than single crops or vintages, are certified to use a holistic system that ensures the health of the farm, the farmer, the consumer and the planet.

Read more in Wine Sensitivites: Am I Allergic to Sulfites? 

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