"Dirty Dozen" -- contain higher levels of pesticides - One of the members: grapes
What's behind organic and biodynamic wines
By:Scott Greenberg | 06/22/11 8:05 PM If you really want to know what's in your wine, take a moment to consider a study done last year by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization focused on public health. The report shows that certain fruits and vegetables -- dubbed the "Dirty Dozen" -- contain higher levels of pesticides, even after washing, than others because of absorption through soft skins. One of the members of the Dirty Dozen? You guessed it: grapes.
Does this mean that pesticides can find their way into wine? Maybe. Several studies have shown that trace amounts of pesticides have been detected in some wines from Europe and South America. But before you give up drinking your favorite bordeaux or malbec, it is important to note that the levels found in all of the wines tested were miniscule and not deemed harmful.
However, there is an effort afoot to reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the use of pesticides in farming in general and wine making in particular. This was recently highlighted at a gathering of vineyard owners and winemakers who participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution's Resident Associates program.
With just a few differences, organic and biodynamic farming practices are both rooted in a philosophy that involves promoting the use of natural techniques to keep the soil and crops healthy without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. In vineyard management, some examples include using chickens to roam among the vines where they eat harmful pests. Wild flowers and other native plants are used to provide nutrients for the soil. Olive trees, apple trees and rose bushes are also planted throughout vineyards to encourage macrobiotic development. In the winery, only natural yeasts are used and no artificial chemicals are added.