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Is Organic Wine Really a Better Choice?

It could finally be official, organic wine does taste better than non-organic wine.
Researchers from the University of California studied expert reviews of over 74,000 wines from three leading wine magazines. These wines had come from 3,482 vineyards in California between 1998 and 2004. Using a 100-point scale, the team found that organic wines scored around 4.1 points higher than non-organic wines.

How is Organic Wine Produced?


Organic wine comes from grapes grown without pesticides and artificial fertilisers. Genetically modified yeast and sulphites cannot be used. But organic wines may contain sulphur dioxide which act as a preservative.
Most wineries use mulching, composting and manure to grow crops and use mechanical weeding and mowing, instead of toxic weed killers.
To avoid using insecticides, some vineyards let chickens pick off damaging worms from the leaves on the vines.


The Study

The researchers looked at reviews from the three renowned wine publications which do blind tastings and mark wines on a 100-point scale. Wines scoring 90 or more get rated as superb or outstanding. Wines considered undrinkable have a score of below 59.
The study looked at over 30 grape varieties and found that organic wines achieved considerably higher scores that pushed them up into the higher ratings. 
The academics behind the study suggest that adopting organic practices and avoiding pesticides, allows microbes in the soil to flourish. This enhances the grapes’ flavour and gives a better reflection of the vine’s natural environment.
Growing grapes without using fertilisers can also mean less grapes are produced. This can improve quality and make the juice more concentrated and tastier as the vine is ripening a smaller number of fruit.
The overall conclusion of the study is that organic and biodynamic farming has a positive effect on wine quality.
These new findings contradict much of the long-held views that eco-labelled wines are of lower quality. This has led to some organic wineries not labelling their wines as organic. But researchers hope that their study will encourage organic winemakers to now display the proper labels on their bottles.


Critics Of The Research

But not everyone seems convinced by the research. Some wine experts argue that there could be many factors influencing the organic wines achieving much higher scores.
For example, it is not clear whether there has been a like for like comparison. Other factors affecting the way wine tastes include the method use to pick the grapes – by hand or machine – and their treatment in the winery. Organic wine producers are also generally more quality conscious. They tend to use particular methods that will likely result in a better-quality wine.
So, as some argue, it’s not entirely clear whether these factors, or because the grapes themselves are grown organically, is why the scores are higher for these wines. Examples of organic wine in our collection includes this rich Organic Merlot from Montanar and this Organic Monastrell from Bodega Castano.

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Top Apps for Wine Lovers

The wine world can sometimes seem rather confusing and intimidating, especially for novices. But there are great mobile apps that can make it easier to choose the right wine and understand all the jargon. Whether you are catering for a special occasion, wanting to know what to pair with a specific meal or interested in local wine events, there is an app for you.
Here is our selection of the best apps for budding wine enthusiasts:



All you need to do with the Vivino app is simply take a picture of a wine label. The app will then instantly tell you about the wine’s ratings and show you detailed reviews. It will also let you know the average price per bottle. The information it provides is based on the app’s huge database of wines and its 14 million users. It will give you some helpful food matching suggestions too and you can also write your own tasting notes. Furthermore, to broaden your wine tasting horizons, it will also suggest other wines from the same producer that you might like.


Hello Vino

The Hello Vino app is great for helping you to pair your food and wine instantly. It will ask you a series of questions to help find the best wine for a certain dish, taste preference or specific occasion. You can even speak to a real person to help you with your wine shopping. It’s the equivalent of having your very own wine expert in your pocket.


Next Glass

If you have a favourite wine but would like to try something else, this app can help. Next Glass is a wine and beer app that will use drinks that you’ve previously rated to compile your very own individual preferences profile. It will helpfully suggest what drinks you might enjoy trying next.


Wine Events

Wine Events is a great app that lets you find out where the nearest free or ticketed wine tasting event to you is. It’s perfect for those interested in going along to a local wine tasting evening. You just need to put in your current location and filter the results so you can easily find events within a certain distance from where you are. Use it on your mobile and you can refer to the event details and the location-based map helps you to easily find where you need to go. And if that’s not enough, the app also includes information about future events, festivals, tastings and classes. A variety of different event hosts such as restaurants, festival organisers, pubs and wineries contribute to the app’s extensive event database.