My Fave Clean Wine Brands For A Healthier Glass

If you’re anything like me, then you won’t want to be sipping on a glass of vino that has synthetic pesticides or artificial sweeteners. That’s where clean wine comes in to save the day.

As you may know, a startling study finding glyphosate in nearly all wine and beer tested, so it’s no wonder clean wine is becoming the toast of the town. And with National Prosecco Day around the corner, I’ve got the perfect excuse to share my fave clean wine brands.

Health and Environmental Benefits of Clean Wine

Clean wines are made without synthetic pesticides or artificial sweeteners, significantly reducing the intake of potentially harmful chemicals. A study highlighting glyphosate in various wines and beers has underscored the importance of knowing what’s in our glasses. Clean wine aims to eliminate these concerns by ensuring that the grapes used in production are grown without synthetic chemicals, resulting in a purer, less adulterated product.

Plus, clean wines often contain lower levels of sulfites, compounds used traditionally to preserve wine but which can cause adverse reactions in some individuals. By favoring natural preservation methods, clean wine producers are making wines that are not only safer to drink from a chemical standpoint but also more friendly to those with sensitivities or allergies to sulfites.

Sustainability forms the cornerstone of clean wine production. Many clean wine brands uphold eco-conscious practices, from organic farming that foregoes synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to biodynamic agriculture that views the vineyard as an integrated, living system. For example, the Cartier family’s vineyards have been certified organic since the 1970s, highlighting a long-standing commitment to sustainable wine making.

These practices contribute to healthier soil, increased biodiversity, and a reduced carbon footprint, ensuring that the wine industry can thrive for generations to come. By supporting local ecosystems and reducing water usage through dry farming techniques, clean wine producers are at the forefront of environmental stewardship in the wine industry.

Natural vs. Organic vs. Biodynamic Wines

Natural wines take center stage for minimal intervention. I’m talking about wines produced with the least amount of technological meddling, avoiding added sugars, acids, or commercial yeasts. But you gotta remember that “natural” isn’t a regulated term, so the practices can vary widely.

Switching gears to organic wines, these come from vineyards that swear off synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, sticking to organic farming practices. But, here’s the kicker – there are two camps. Wines made with organic grapes may not necessarily be organic through and through if the winemaking process includes certain additives. However, certified organic wines have strict guidelines, both in the vineyard and the winery, aiming for purity and environmental respect.

Then there are biodynamic wines, which take organic to a whole new level. Biodynamic farming is like organic farming on steroids, emphasizing a self-sustaining ecosystem. Think of it as a holistic approach to agriculture, where the vineyard is treated as a living system. These practices are steeped in philosophies that date back to the 1920s, adding a cosmic calendar into the mix for planting and harvesting.

Certifications to Look For

When I’m scouring shelves for clean wines, a few certifications give me confidence in my choices. First, there’s the USDA Organic seal, a solid indication that the wine meets national organic standards in the U.S. This certification means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers were used, and the winemaking process follows strict organic guidelines.

For those drawn to the ethos of biodynamic agriculture, the Demeter Biodynamic Certification is the gold standard. It assures that the wine comes from vineyards that adhere to stringent biodynamic practices, promoting a sustainable and harmonious environment.

Another seal I keep an eye out for is the ECOCERT certification, widely recognized for organic and biodynamic standards outside the U.S. It’s a testament to a wine’s adherence to organic agriculture and, in some cases, biodynamic principles.

For a broader understanding of sustainability practices — which aren’t strictly organic or biodynamic but aim for environmental stewardship — the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified seal is increasingly common. It covers various factors, including water and energy efficiency, social responsibility, and more.

How I Choose a Clean Wine

When I’m looking to add a bottle of clean wine to my collection, I’ve found that understanding the labels and price points can make all the difference.

Certifications like USDA Organic, Demeter Biodynamic, ECOCERT, and SIP Certified are gold standards, signaling strict adherence to organic, biodynamic, or sustainable practices. But it doesn’t stop there. I always keep an eye out for keywords: “natural,” “organic,” and “biodynamic.” While “natural” suggests minimal intervention, “organic” means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers were used, and “biodynamic” represents a step further, incorporating a holistic farming approach.

However, spotting these markers requires a bit of homework since regulations around terms like “clean” are still pretty loose. A quick tip: if a wine is certified in any way, you’ll likely find a logo or seal somewhere on the bottle. Don’t see any? It might be worth doing a quick search on the winery’s practices.

One stumbling block is the use of sulfites. It’s a common misconception that all clean wines are sulfite-free. In reality, sulfites occur naturally during fermentation, so most wines contain them to some extent. The key difference is that clean wines often have lower sulfite levels, which can be a selling point for those with sensitivities.

Technical agents and additives are where things get tricky. Since current laws don’t require full disclosure, finding a winery that champions transparency can be a game-changer. Brands committed to sharing detailed reports on their winemaking process, including any additives used, are often a safer bet for those looking for truly clean wines.

About That Price

It’s no secret that clean wines often come with a higher price tag. Since organic and biodynamic farming practices are more labor-intensive and yield fewer grapes than conventional methods, it’s understandable. But here’s the thing: not all clean wines will break the bank. Prices can range significantly based on factors like brand, origin, and rarity.

Entry-level organic options often start just a few bucks more than conventional wines, making them an accessible choice for those looking to dip their toes into cleaner wines. For truly special occasions, splurging on a biodynamic or natural wine can make for an unforgettable experience – both in terms of taste and knowing you’re supporting sustainable practices.

Recommended Brands

Here’s some of my top picks for those looking to indulge in clean wine without worry.

Bonterra Organic Vineyards

I’ve been a fan of Bonterra Organic Vineyards for years, and here’s why. They’re at the forefront of regenerative organic viticulture in California, setting a benchmark for quality and commitment to the environment. Instead of relying on synthetic pesticides or additives, Bonterra uses natural methods to maintain their vineyards, ensuring their wines are GMO-free, low in sulfites, and made with organic grapes. Their Bonterra Bubbles Rosé Can is a perfect example of their dedication to producing clean, delicious wine. It’s a must-try for anyone looking to enjoy high-quality, organic wine.

Maker Wine

Maker Wine deserves a special mention for bringing innovation into the clean wine space. They offer premium canned wines that are convenient without compromising on quality. Each can is sourced from diverse, small-batch winemakers focused on organic and sustainable farming practices. I recently sampled a 6-pack of their sparkling rosés and whites. Each one was crisp, light, and utterly delightful. For those seeking quality clean wine with the added convenience of a can, Maker Wine is a fantastic choice.

Scout and Cellar

Scout and Cellar is another brand I’ve come to appreciate for their dedication to clean winemaking. They go the extra mile to source wines and grapes from growers that prioritize organic practices, ensuring each bottle is free from synthetic pesticides and unnecessary additives. Scout and Cellar’s selection offers something for every palate, with a transparency in their process that’s reassuring for those of us concerned about what goes into our wine.

Frey Vineyards

Frey Vineyards has carved out a niche for itself in the clean wine industry by focusing on biodynamic practices. Their approach to winemaking avoids not only synthetic pesticides but also added sulfites, making their wines a great option for anyone sensitive to sulfites or looking to avoid them altogether. Frey’s Biodynamic Field Blend Red is a standout choice, offering depth and flavor that pairs beautifully with a variety of foods.

Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wines has taken the clean wine philosophy to heart, committing to wines that are sugar-free, carb-free, and free from added sulfites. Their selection is friendly to nearly every diet, from Paleo to Keto, without sacrificing taste. I’ve yet to open a bottle of Dry Farm Wine that didn’t impress, with their commitment to organic and biodynamic farming practices shining through in every sip.

Viticcio Vineyards

Viticcio Vineyards holds a special place in my heart for their dedication to organic and biodynamic viticulture. Nestled in the heart of Chianti Classico, Viticcio produces wines that are a testament to the beauty and potential of organic winemaking practices. They strive for natural harmony in their vineyards, a philosophy that results in wines bursting with flavor and character. If you’re looking to explore Italian wines that are clean and conscientiously made, Viticcio Vineyards is where you should start.

Each of these brands has shown a commitment to clean wine production, offering choices that are not only better for our health but also for the planet. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of clean wines, these brands offer quality, transparency, and a dedication to sustainability that’s worthy of recognition.

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