Italy’s World Leading Organic Wines

organic wineS have seen exponential growth in the past couple of decades.  What started out as a curiosity for “hippies and hobbyists” has now become THE target for forward thinking wineries, and Italy is a country at the forefront of organic winemaking in the world.

Italian Organic Boom

Organic wine in Italy is booming, with a 57% growth between 2013 and 2018 alone[1].  By 2018, about one sixth of Italian vineyard space was either certified organic, in conversion, or organically cultivated.  That in itself made up just over a quarter of all organic vineyard space in the world.  That really is impressive.

But what does any of that mean for you all out there drinking these wines?  We live in a world where we’re all asking more questions about the food on our plates and the drinks in our glass.  We want free range, not GM!  It makes perfect sense that eating organic fruit and vegetables and drinking organic wines is better for you and the environment.  But with wine, as opposed to a lot of other products, it’s arguably a tougher road to travel for the grape growers that’s not always obvious to see.

What makes a wine organic?

What Makes a Wine “Organic”?

This might sound like an obvious question.  Organic carrots, organic tomatoes, organic wine.  It’s all the same is it not?

Well to an extent, yes it is.  In Italy (and most of Europe) the EU have set down a series of regulations to follow based on the banning the use of agrochemicals in the vineyards to manage pests and diseases.

Since the 1920s “conventional farming” has involved the use of agrochemicals to ensure that crops produced every year to feed an exploding world population.  Unfortunately, by the 1980s, that meant monocultures and dead soils all over the world.  So the organic movement is first and foremost about rejecting the use of synthetic agrochemicals; harmful to the land, those who live there, and those who drink the wine.  Drinking organic wine is helping the land and the people who work there, as well as making a healthier choice for you and whoever you share your bottles with.

Where Organic wine Gets complicated

Where It Gets A Bit Complicated

It’s not as simple, however, to say to everyone that we all need to go organic overnight.  Some wine regions, especially those by the coast or in humid climates, struggle more than others with fungal attack.  It’s hard for them to go organic and still have a business.

There are still sulphites used in organic viticulture as a natural hygiene tool as well as the use of copper sulphite in the vineyards as the only protection available against mildew by the rules.  All those “extras” allowed, and the quantity used, in the vineyard and cellar are limited in quantity by the rules, but it is still up to the winemaker and vineyard manager how and when to use them.

Organic Wine Label

How Do We See It On The Label?

This isn’t always easy.  There are also the joys of the terms certified, non-certified, and in conversion.  EU certification takes 3 years to attain and there’s a lot of cost and paperwork involved.  Those who have been through that process are known as certified organic and have the EU organic wine logo on the bottle.  Those that are going through that process, but not completed it are said to be in organic conversion.  Those that practice organic viticulture but don’t want the hassle or cost of being certified are known as non-certified organic.  What is it with the wine world about making things complicated for us all, eh?

Help Is At Hand

The best way to make better choices when buying your wine is to know as much as you can about who made it and who you buy it off.  We know buying organic wine is good, but we think buying from great producers who have a strong organic ethos is even better, whether certified or not.  Luckily, at Libiamo, we’ve got some brilliant (and certified) organic wines and producers we’re incredibly proud to stock and support.  Perfect wines for happy and healthy dinner tables!

Libiamo’s Top Organic Wines

Ronchi di Cialla, Friuli Venezia Giulia

An historical Friulian family wine estate.  All work in the vineyard is made without the use of synthetic products and with minimal allowable treatments.  The winemaking itself is carried out naturally with native yeast and spontaneous fermentation.

The company philosophy has always been to work only with indigenous varieties, such as Ribolla, Refosco, Schioppettino, Verduzzo and Picolit that in the Cru’ Cialla find the perfect environment. After 40 years Ronchi di Cialla has a well-established reputation on the market as a producer of some of the finest age-worthy wines of Friuli.

Ronchi Di Cialla Schioppettino 2014

Beautiful ruby red coloured wine, with an elegant bouquet on the nose with fresh red fruits and spicy pepper notes.  Excellent balance and weight in the mouth and a lovely long flavourful finish.  Another great pairing with white or red meat, but simply perfect for the local Friulian barley minestrone.

93/100 from Vinous Antonio Galloni

Cantina Cavalieri, Le Marche

The Cavalieri estate consists of just 8 hectares of vines and Verdicchio accounts for almost all the production. Their vineyards are cultivated following the principles of organic agriculture and obtained full certification from the 2014 vintage. Among all of the producers of Verdicchio di Matelica DOC the Cavalieri family is certainly one of the oldest and richest in history.

Cantina Cavalieri, Verdicchio di Matelica 2016

A very clean nose of white flowers, white peach and citrus.  Saline mineral notes shine through adding a delightful complexity.  On the palate it is driven by the minerality (wet stones & salinity) accompanied by white flowers and zingy citrus.  A great pairing with fish dishes, spaghetti with clams, white meats

3.5/5 from Vivino

[1] Sources include Sinab, Eurostat and Fibl data agencies




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