pictured is Roland from Cantina La Selva, Maremma, Tuscany. They are a genuine organic family farm producing organic fruit and vegetables, olive oil and delicious wines!
EU Certified Organic Wines
EU Organic certification sadly is no longer worth the paper it is written on. That isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of good EU certified organic wines, with low sulphite and other additive content, but distinguishing them from heavily manipulated wines which still qualify under the EU Organic status is virtually impossible. Genuine organic producers are furious about this as they relied on the system to distinguish their genuine organic healthy wines and they feel the system has badly let them down. And they have to pay for the privilege of course.
Please read on to see why this system is no longer fit for purpose.
These are the quantities of sulphites permitted under current regulations:
EU Certified Organic dry red wine: 100 mg/l
EU Certified Organic dry white wine: 150 mg/l
EU Certified Organic dry rose wine: 150 mg/l
EU Certified “Quality” sparkling wine: 155 mg/l
However, there is also permission to exceed these amounts by 50 to 70 mg/l dependent on the residual sugar content in the wine, and add even more if the producer feels it necessary!
And then none “Quality” sparkling wines are permited to contain 205 mg/l and dessert wines up to 370 mg/l.
Non EU Certificatons:
Biodynamic wine : 90 mg/l
USA Certified Organic wines are not permitted to add any sulphites so these are a safe option for anybody with a sulphite allergy.
How to find genuine low sulphite organic wines then?
So how do you distinguish the genuine low sulphite EU Certified Organic wines from the ones at the top of the limits? There is no way from looking at the bottle as they will all bear the same EU Organic logo. How do you know if that wine has had no additives, or perhaps it has had 30 or more? Is the free SO2 a healthy 15mg/l? Or is it a potentially life threatening (for an allergic person) 45mg/l? Are all the natural anti oxidants still in there helping protect you from heart disease, cancer, dementia? Or has it been intensively filtered with all the goodness taken out?
Winemakers won’t state the contents of their wines on their labels – if the mainstream brands did this you would be horrified and never touch one again! This is big money with global brands, and the situation is never realistically going to change as it is driven by money not what is good for the consumer.
However, it is possible to find the genuine organic wines through importers like ourselves. We source sulphite free wines and genuine organic wines from small dedicated family producers. They work the farms themselves, do everything by hand, run an ecosystem rather than just a vineyard, and live and breathe an organic lifestyle. This is vastly different to a large producer growing hundreds of hectares of organic grapes worked by staff, machine harvesting, and then “rectifying” the final product at the winemaking stage with a raft of additives and heavy filtration.
We publish the all important free SO2 levels on our wines where we can, so you know they are safe to drink even if you have a sulphite allergy. Be guided by them. We believe Jane’s threshold is around 30ppm free SO2 (Jane has a severe sulphite allergy) but we advise anybody with an allergy to go for wines under 20ppm to be on the safe side as different people will have differing levels of tolerance.
We aim to take the guesswork out of buying natural wine for you. All our sulphite free wines, organic or biodynamic wines are the genuine article, all natural, healthy and actively good for you.
Please visit our sulphite free wines section to browse and buy sulphite free wines, and our organic section for our genuine organic wines with tiny amount of sulphites.
Just in case you wanted to know what may be in your EU Certified Organic wine:
Here is a list of permitted additives in EU Certified Organic wines:
dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC)
yeast cell walls
yeasts for wine production
concentrated grape must
rectified concentrated grape must
neutral potassium tartrate
acacia (gum arabic)
proteins of plant origin
ovalbumin (egg white)