why organic?

mar 2020

Decisions in the vineyard have an immeasurable impact on our final product. pétproject sources exclusively from vineyards committed to dry farming and organic practices.

The idea of making a natural wine in the cellar, without natural practices in the vineyard seems a bit out of step. When I became interested in making natural wines without additives I knew that I had to begin at the vineyard level, using only organically farmed grapes. I began searching for certified organic sites throughout the state of Washington and quickly learned just how rare they are. There is not a deep focus on organic farming practices in Washington State vineyards like there is with ingredients in other agricultural industries like dairy or fresh fruit industry. Only about 5% of vineyards around the world are farmed to certified organic standards and most of these vineyards are in France and Italy. Less than 2% of wines produced in the US are made using organic grapes and even less are made with native yeast and minimal intervention in the cellar.

why organic?

I choose to undergo USDA organic certification at our production facility and estate vineyard because it let’s you, the consumer, know that at a minimum we adhere to these baseline rules. Certification is an intense, borderline excessive process, but I took it on because I feel it is worthwhile to participate in a standard of best practices that promote environmental, consumer, and producer health.

why organic?

Organic protocols can be confusing and intricate so here is my short outline to help clarify and demystify the rules and regulations of natural, organic, and conventional wine.

Natural Wine (how we make the pét project wines)

- Made from organic and/or biodynamic grapes (no synthetic chemicals / as naturally as possible)
- No additives in the cellar (native fermentations no added nutrients)
- No so2 (some natural wine camps say a little is ok)

US Organic Wine
- Certified Organic Fruit
- NOP (National Organic Program) processing standards (must use only approved
organic additives and processes) organic yeast and yeast nutrients are approved for use
- No So2 added

US Wine labeled “Made with Organic Grapes”
- Certified Organic Fruit
- NOP (National Organic Program) Processing Standards (use only approved organic additives and processes)
- Max 100ppm of So2

EU Organic Wine
- Certified Organic Fruit
- EU Approved additives and processes
- Max 100ppm So2 for Reds
- Max 150 ppm So2 for Whites

Conventional Wine (USA)
- Hundreds of different synthetic and systemic sprays are permitted for use
in the vineyard including Glyphosate
- Hundreds of additives not derived from organic sources that are available to conventional winemakers including GMO yeast strains
- Max 350ppm So2

why organic?

A note on sustainability.
Sustainable is a broad unregulated term in the wine industry but generally speaking the many certifications that are out there exist to provide oversight on the environmental impacts of farming. This is a big plus but it isn’t strict enough and a lot of the rules are more like strong suggestions. For example, the weed killing chemical Glyphosate is discouraged but still permitted by many sustainable certification bodies.
Sustainable and Organic are not interchangeable terms. A farm can be sustainable but not Organic but it is more difficult to be Organic and not Sustainable because the products that are approved for use in Organic farming are, on the whole, less impactful on the environment. Some have argued that because Organic sprays are less effective than synthetic/systemic sprays that the use of more diesel required for the tractor to spray a field is just as bad or worse for the environment. I would argue that removing chemicals from our food and the land is achievable now so we should start there. Better sources of clean, affordable energy will hopefully become more available in the near future but why should we sacrifice soil health and our personal health in the meantime.

why organic?

vineyard