by Ryan Gaughn, Alcohol Buyer
November is one of my favorite months because it's a time to get together with friends and family and share incredible food. Whether it's root vegetables, rice pilafs, stews, pies, or casseroles, there is one ingredient that most of these cozy meals are really enhanced by: WINE. And, this November at People's, I've curated some organic reds and whites for your feasting table, wine which can be easily shared without breaking the bank.
Organic wines are an intriguing thing. Many of the wines we carry at People's are produced using grapes from vineyards which employ organic & biodynamic agricultural practices. Indeed, the vast majority of winemakers avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers as much as possible, because they are intimately aware of the negative effects these products have on the vines.
However, you don't see wines that are certified USDA Organic very often. This is because the USDA Organic certification standards prohibit the addition of sulfites in the winemaking process. Human-produced sulfites, which are considered to be non-naturally occurring by the USDA, are commonly used as a preservative in the vast majority of wines that are produced throughout the world. Wine often is shipped great distances, and stored for longer periods of time than most food products, hence the use of sulfites provides a means for producers to ensure the quality of their product long after it has left the winery.
At People's we carry both choices. We have USDA Organic certified reds, such as the Pacific Redwood Red Blend ($9.99), and Frey's Agriculturist Red ($11.79), which are a part of the no sulfites added camp. And then there are other wines we're featuring which feature organically grown grapes, such as the Montinore Pinot Gris ($12.49), and the Old Vine 11 Pinos ($9.99), which are not certified organic, again, primarily because of the use of sulfites.
There is a range of debate about the pros and cons of adding sulfites to wine. Some people don't think it makes a difference, while others find that non-sulphited wines have a tendency to lose freshness more quickly if not consumed immediately after opening. I often hear some customers say that wines with added sulfites give them a headache. Others think that has more to do with the alcohol.....
This November, I encourage you to keep the co-op in mind for all of your holiday feasting ingredients. Especially wine! We have a great range of selection, and, when you mix and match any six bottles, you save 20%! Come on down and try out some new organic wines, and be sure to ask for me, Ryan, if you're looking for a recommendation. I love to talk about our selection and alcohol production in general. I'd be delighted to help you find something that will suit your needs.