Organic White Wine
Organic white wine is primarily made from white grape varieties. In our portfolio, these include familiar varietals such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and and Sémillon and Pinot Grigio; and unique grapes including Verdejo (Spain), Moschofilero (Greece), Grüner Veltliner (Austria), Turbiana and Manzoni (Italy).
Many of the grapes for our organic white wines are picked by hand, the wine growers carefully placing the bunches of grapes in bins, then taking them directly to production. Machine harvesting is also used, with small systems used to shake the grapes gently from the vines.
De-stemming, Crushing & Pressing
Upon arrival at the winery there is a mixture of individual berries, whole bunches, stems, and leaves. After de-stemming and removing leaves, the grapes are crushed to break the skins, then pressed to separate out the juice.
Yeast and Fermentation
Indigenous yeast naturally present on the skins of the grapes, or in the environment, starts the alcoholic fermentation. The sugars present are converted into alcohol with carbon dioxide and heat as by-products. The majority of our winery partners use this naturally occurring yeast, and some create or use organic yeast specifically from the region. The juice is transferred to a fermentation tank, usually stainless steel. Fermentation takes place at a lower temperature for white than for red wines, 54-72˚F, to preserve the delicate floral and fruit aromas. The process takes from 2-4 weeks.
Organic white wine is decanted off its lees (dead yeast cells and other solids), and for our Made with Organically Grown Grapes wines, a very minimal amount of sulfur dioxide is added as a preservative to avoid oxidation and bacterial spoilage. For Made with Organically Grown Grapes wines, this amount can be up to 100ppm (conventional wines have up to 350ppm) but our winery partners try and keep them to a minimum with most averaging 20-30ppm. Wines that have No Sulfites Added can still contain naturally occurring sulfites produced by the grapes themselves) up to 10ppm.
Most white wine is aged for some period before bottling, in stainless-steel or concrete tanks, or in small or large American and/or French oak barrels. Oak barrels impart specific flavors and the age and type of oak is significant to the flavor profile.
Our organic white wines undergo fining, which is designed to clarify the wine. Fining agents used by our winery partners are 100% vegan and include Bentonite Clay and Pea Protein.
Filtration and Bottling
Our organic white wines are filtered before bottling to eliminate any remaining yeast cells and bacteria and to produce a clear wine. The wine is then bottled and corked or capped with a “Stelvin” screw cap. You will find that many No Sulfites Added wines have a screw cap, as they are designed to keep oxygen from entering the bottle.