About the Organic Certification

November 06, 2021

Question: Since you are The "Organic" Wine Store, why do you also sell wines that do not specifically say “organic” on the label? Are they all organic or not?

Answer: The matter is complicated on many levels, and I will try to make it clear here below.

1. Organic certification is different in USA, EU and other areas of the world.
The USA and EU have different requirements to classify a wine as organic. A wine with the organic certification in the EU needs to comply with rules that are at least 20 per cent different from the ones required to be certified organic by the USDA.

In some cases, USDA rules allow to write at least "made with organic grapes". In other cases, not even this is possible. As an example, to get an organic certification, a winery must submit its viticultural processes to an authorized agency. But not all the agencies recognized by the European, or South American or Asian governments, are recognized in the USA. So, a wine which is “bio” (European for: organic) in France on the label, could be prevented to use the word “organic” in the USA.

At The Organic Wine Store we are proud to sell only wines from wineries that adopt organic practices, even if they are not recognized by the US regulatory agencies.


2. Different allowances of sulfites.

For a wine to be USDA approved organic, NO sulfites can be added to those spontaneously generated during the fermentation process. To be organic in the EU, a very small number of milligrams per liter (mg/l) is allowed. At The Organic Wine Store, in synthesis,if you read USDA organic on the label of one of our featured wines,  you are buying a wine with “zero added sulfites”. If you choose from our “low sulfites” collection be assured you are buying wines with very, very low level of sulfites (usually below 80 mg/liter).

If you want to to get into more detail, please write your questions to: somm@theorganicwinestore.com.


3. Choice of the producer NOT to communicate organic practices.

Many producers have been practicing organic and/or biodynamic farming for years, -or decades in some cases, -but have never written it on their labels, because they believe it is not relevant. In many wine regions, organic practices are the only known practices. Many “old world” producers claim it’s their identity and integrity that is the warranty for the consumer.
I personally disagree, but a few great producers featured in The Organic Wine Stores are practicing organic, but do not want to write it on the label. In these cases, we personally check their practices before accepting their wines in our store.


4. Choice of the producer NOT to be certified.
Some producers, although practicing organic farming, do not want to certify their processes because they are essentially anarchists (it’s true!). Above all, they do not want to undergo bureaucratic/administrative commitments. In the case of small producers or cooperatives sometimes they do not want to pay the cost of the process and certification. In these cases as well, we check their practices before deciding to accept their products for sale.


5. Certified organic versus practicing organic.

At The Organic Wine Store, we classify as “organic” the wines from wineries certified in their country of origin.
And we classify "made with organic practices" the wineries which guarantee on their website, in official company documents, or from our direct control and knowledge, that they follow organic practices. In particular they do not use any pesticide, herbicide or chemical fertilizer, -although they are not certified.

To sum up, at The Organic Wine Store ALL the wines for sale have been selected by me before being included in the store. I navigate on behalf of my customers the meanderings of the different certifications and the different personalities -poetic, anarchist, eccentric- of the wine makers, in order to present the ultimate curated list of the best organic wines in the world, guaranteed.

Further questions? Write to me, Raimondo Boggia, sommelier and founder of this website, at: somm@theorganicwinestore.com.