Drink in the benefits of organic wine

Taylor Hilsabeck

As wine, no doubt, is one of the world’s most loved beverages, it is important to know what wines are best for our health. As many are aware, the organic foods market is growing at a very steady pace. A variety of organic wines are now available for consumers to buy. Although organic wines come with a higher price tag, as with most organic goods, they also come with increased health benefits. But what increased health benefits does organic wine give that traditional wines don’t have?

Organic wines are produced with organic grapes. Any food organically grown must follow strict criteria. Organic foods must be certified before they can be labeled “organic.” Traditional wines are grown with grapes heavily sprayed with pesticides. Organic wineries do not add flavors such as oak chips to their wines and use very basic wine-making techniques that involve yeast for fermentation. Some traditional wines may be labeled “made with organic grapes;” this means 70 percent of their grapes come from organic sources. It is important, when choosing the healthiest wine, to read the labels carefully.

Organic wines are not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides and tend to have greater health benefits and brighter flavors. When buying organic wine, consumers are doing more than buying a healthier wine. They are helping change the way they live in the future. Organic wine is more than a bolder flavor. “Organic wine is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Organic wines contain less sulfites than traditional wines. Sulfites are salts or sulfurous acids that occur naturally in many wines. It is rare to find a wine that does not have sulfites. Added sulfites are generally used for preservation of wines. All organic wines are made without added sulfites. The less sulfites a wine contains, the healthier it will be for your body.

A buyer of wine doesn’t have to travel far to try organic wine. Ames’ very own Prairie Moon Winery produces organic wine. “It has been our goal to select a variety of grapes well suited to the environment and the taster’s palate,” said Matt and Janet Nissen, managers of Prairie Moon Winery.

On Sundays, begin your week with an environmentally-friendly bike ride to the winery for the “Live in the Vineyard” summer concert series for free admission and organic wine. Highway Home, a bluegrass band, will perform this Sunday, Sept. 30.

Wheatsfield, Hy-Vee, Casey’s General Store, Cyclone Liquors and Fareway are just a few places in Ames where you can purchase local, organic wines. The most popular variety from Prairie Moon Winery is the Honey Moon Red. It features the added flavor of Iowa-made honey.