With the celebratory twist of a cork, popping open a bottle of champagne has become a timeless symbol for romance, weddings, Valentine’s Day, job promotions, and bringing in the New Year. However, before the ingenious notion of organic champagne took flight, the true intensity of distinct flavors and enchanting hints of fruit were often diminished. Today, organic vintners cultivate liquid masterpieces free of pesticides and extra sulphite, which allows the natural essence of champagne to captivate.
Grapes cultivated without the helping hand of chemical-filled herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers are used to produce organic champagne and sparkling wines. Organically grown grapes do not depend on harsh chemicals to reach their full potential, but instead thrive off of an environment consisting of living soil – worms and helpful bacteria. In the end, the soil empowers vines with high levels of minerals, generating a higher resistance to disease and encouraging productive growing seasons.
For example, organic farms have learned to avoid the damaging effects of pests by planting cover crops between vines. This approach not only orchestrates striking landscape features, but also draws natural means of insect control – harmless bugs that feed on biological threats. Some organic farmers release ladybirds to rid vines of destructive aphids. To counteract mildew, an organic farm may use copper sulphate or elemental sulphur – natural salts.
Beyond the world of organically grown grapes are biodynamic farms, which adhere to the strictest of environmental restrictions and follow an almost scientific art form. Biodynamic farms essentially uphold the concept of maintaining a closed, self-sustaining system; and are considered the crème de la crème of organic farming. Although the two farming methods rely upon the same sorts of techniques, biodynamics incorporates special preparations; follows a different time schedule; and lives by a specialized philosophy.
Organic Champagne Certification
Organic champagne is given the seal of approval when a farm gains certification after being inspected by a credible organization, such as the Soil Association (United Kingdom), Ecocert (France), and the CCOF (California). With annual inspections and high standards, the quality of an organic farm does not go unnoticed. Distributors of eco-friendly products and organic retailers, such as Eco-Express and Diamond Organics, then sell organic champagne across the world.
From toasting a special occasion to stocking the wine list of 5-star restaurants, organic champagne brands like the following help individuals embrace a sustainable celebration:
• Serge Faust Champagne ($59): Grapes are grown using organic methods of the French organic certifier – the National Union of Independent Agrobiologists.
• Champagne Brut, Fleur de l’Europe ($99): A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes produces this intensely rich, biodynamic and Vegan organic champagne.
• AOC Champagne Rosé ($42): Champagne Fleury offers this very dry, summer berry treat.
• Cava Brut Reserva – Can Vendrell ($28): Combines the native Spanish white grapes of Xarello, Parellada, and Macabeu for a tantalizing blend.
• NV Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Rosé ($46): This rosé organic champagne choice is harvested by hand, using pinot noir grapes to create delightful hints of roses and strawberries.
• Vilmart Coeur de Cuvée ($89): This handpicked biodynamic treasure offers a full body with the flavor of citrus and vanilla.
By Yona Williams