• leighmcswan

Natural Wine vs Organic Wine

Updated: May 5

If you’re a wine lover but have had the very unpleasant experience of the wine hangover, I feel you. In 2020 I couldn’t tolerate a glass of any wine that wasn’t organic. I felt instantly sick and inflamed- it was quickly removed from my life. I then eliminated all North, Central and South American wine from my life and stuck to organic from Italy and France exclusively. My symptoms improved with the exception of a headache the following day, but only after more than one glass.


If you suspect you may have a wine intolerance, check out this guide here to determine if you do.


Earlier this year I stumbled upon a podcast on natural wines and I knew I needed to learn more.


Did you know there is a difference between the two?


Which do you assume would be better for you?


Take a guess.


Scroll down to the bottom of this post and put your initial guess into the comments- I’m curious what you think.


Organic and natural wines fall into different classifications and standards in comparison to food.


In the food (and personal care products) world, ‘natural’ is a regulation-free, meaningless term that is used solely for the purpose of marketing the product in a way that the consumer feels good about purchasing. Essentially, it holds no ground and can be extremely misleading to consumers.


Wines specifically fall under different regulations and, in this realm, ‘natural’ has standards.


Natural Wines

  • Always grown organically or biodynamically

  • Hand-harvested

  • Typically lower alcohol content

  • Fermentation with indigenous (wild) yeasts

  • No enzymes

  • No additives added (such as acid, tannin, colouring) other than SO2

  • SO2 levels no higher than 70mg/l total

  • Unfined, and no (or light) filtration

  • No other heavy manipulation (such as spinning cone, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, rapid-finishing, Ultraviolet C irradiation)(1)


Organic Wines

  • the fruit itself was farmed organically

  • doesn’t mean the wine is natural

(Organic farming is not chemical-free; it does employ organic chemicals and treatments.)


The majority of wine makers are mega multi-billion dollar conglomerates in the US.

The top 3 of these manufactures make up over 50% of the wine in the US. The top 30 companies make up over 70% of the wine in the US.


When these mega corps come into the winemaking world, the beautiful, anescetral, ritualistic aspect of growing and producing wine is lost. There are thousands of brands of wines to present the illusion of small, independent vineyards and chateaus when in fact, it’s all the same corporation pumping out wine, from one factory. The labels and the branding may change, but the production is the same.


The goal is always to make the bottom line look good. How do they do this? They cheat nature, cut corners and focus on lowering the cost and increasing the volume of wine produced.


This is done through chemical farming and chemicals and additives (there are 76 additives that are approved by the FDA to be added into wine- which don’t have to be disclosed on the label) in the wine.


Why aren’t the additives on the label- for the same reason fragrances in your personal care products don’t have to be broken down by their chemical make up and disclosed- lobbying and political interest. Have you ever noticed that wine labels don’t contain nutritional labels?


So, if you’re looking to avoid added sugars, GMO sugars…you’re out of luck. Unless you choose a natural wine with transparency.


Download this guide here to determine if you may be sensitive to conventionally grown wine.


Where can you find natural wines in the US? Dry Farm Wines is a delivery system that sources truly natural wines with strict standards. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to Canada (I’ve begged them) but I did find a Toronto based natural wine shop with a delivery option and similar standards as Dry Farm Wines.


Grape Witches in Toronto has a storefront and online ordering option. I have enjoyed my order so far and can attest to the hangover free experience of drinking more than 1 glass of wine.


If you’re outside the region, download the app Raisin. It will allow you to search for natural wineries and restaurants. Check out all the European options! This should be in North America!


Cheers & vibrant health,

Leigh xo



References:


(1)https://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/what-is-natural-wine-ask-decanter-368773/