Organic production positively influences quality of wine

Photo credit: Wojtek Szkutnik Photo credit: Wojtek Szkutnik

A new study published in Journal of Wine Economics compared experts rankings of over 70,000 California wines and found that wines certified as organic or biodynamic scored higher in quality tests than conventionally grown wines. The authors used data published between 1998 to 2009 from the respected wine publications Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator to assess the quality of 74,148 different California wines. Researchers used mathematical models to evaluate a variety of data including scores from wine tasters and the choice of words used to describe the wines. The results demonstrated positive and significant correlations between quality scores and eco-certification. However, unlike other organically certified products, consumers tend to harbor biases against organic wines. Three quarters of organic certified wine makers with certification do not display it on their bottle packaging. Furthermore, grape growers and wine producers may not seek certification in spite of adhering to the organic standards. If this is the case, these results likely reflect an under-estimation of how organic practices can improve the quality of wine.