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Finding Organic Champagne Is Harder than I Thought

We’re not big wine drinkers, but we’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, so champagne is a must. And although I know a once-a-year purchase isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I figured that since I had to wade into unfamiliar territory anyway, I’d try to find an organic champagne.

Er, sparkling wine, that is. I was told by the nice guy at the Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville that champagne from the Champagne region of France is unlikely to be organic, since the wet climate encourages mold growth, and thus the use of fungicide. Drier areas, like California, are where most organic sparkling wines will be found. (Check out the Organic Consumers Association or the Organic Wine Journal for more info on organic wines.)

.

Oddly enough, the two brands that we found were both from Europe:

  • Albero is from Spain. It was the only organic sparkling wine at our local Trader Joe’s, but they had both the regular and the brut. It was really cheap, which makes me wonder at the quality….
  • Mionetto is from Italy. It was the only organic sparkling wine at the Wine and Cheese Cask. The guy who found it for us said he’d never tried it, but he liked other wines by that company.

Our local Whole Foods was a huuuuge disappointment. Not only did they not carry an organic sparkling wine, but when I asked, the guy manning that department told me that organic wine didn’t exist—and tried to convince me for something like five minutes when I looked skeptical.

This was a lot harder to find than I expected. Grist and Treehugger had some good reviews, but I couldn’t find what they recommended. If I was really stumped, I would have just made sure to get sparkling wine from Europe. Wine travels a long way to the East Coast, but its carbon footprint is smaller if it’s shipped by boat from Europe than by truck or rail from California.

I haven’t tried either of these yet, so I don’t know how they taste, but I’ll let you know what the consensus is after our party. Cheers!

Comments

Comment from Danielle
Time December 31, 2009 at 1:41 am

Whoops, forgot to RSVP and say thanks but I can’t make it! I trust the W&CC implicitly, though honestly I thought the older gentleman, at least, had tried every single wine they sell… I guess that’s unrealistic.

Comment from Mike
Time December 31, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Not Hard to get organic sparkling here in OZ there is about 6 on the market from $19 to $ 70 aud, best one we have tried is The Organic One Blanc De Blanc…..
France has one that i have tried called fluery from Champagne.

Cheers

Comment from Adam
Time January 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm

You hear a lot about how hard it is to be organic in Champagne, though if one winery can do it, as Fleury does, I’m sure others could as well. A good alternative may also be the Grower Champagnes made by smaller producers. While they may not be organic, their practices share some common ground.

Another problem, for sparkling and organic wine in general, is that many wineries that practice organics do not certify, and many who certify do not put it on their label. Domaine Carneros, a great U.S. sparkling wine house, has organic certification but you won’t find that on the bottle.

Unfortunately, finding organic wine usually takes a little more research than finding the green label or relying on your local wine store to know their own inventory. At the Organic Wine Journal we don’t try to review every wine that comes out, but we do want to get people familiar with the names. You’d be surprised how many organic wines might be in that wine store or wine list.

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time April 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

[…] environment? – Slate. They came to basically the same conclusion that I did while hunting for organic champagne: if you live on the east coast, you’re better off just looking for stuff from Europe or South […]

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