It seems that organic wine may not just be better for the environment, it’s also better for your taste buds! After years of debate and speculation, there’s strong evidence that grapes grown free of pesticides, artificial fertilizers and fungicides make better wine than conventionally-grown grapes.

Researchers at the University of California used data from three prestigious wine magazines to look at the quality and review scores of just over 74,000 wines produced between 1998 and 2009 in California.

Using a standardised 100-point scale to iron out the differences between the magazines’ individual scoring systems, the researchers found that the wines made from certified organic grapes scored 4.1 points higher on average than the non-organic ones.

Positive effects

The research report concluded that organic and biodynamic wine production has an – albeit small – overall positive effect on the quality of the wine.

Of course, there are many factors that influence the taste and quality of a wine, but it seems that the terroir comes out more with organic wines – the pesticides and other artificial chemicals are replaced with the sun, labour, the insects and other microbes necessary for agriculture. There’s also the fact that organic wineries tend to be more careful and hands-on with their production; they probably also use better-quality grape varieties to start with, too. However, the numbers in the study speak for themselves.

There’s still skepticism

Despite these findings, people are still only choosing organic wines over conventional if they think the conventional option is from a poorly-regarded region. Some will choose the organic bottle because they’re green-conscious, but overall, people still believe eco-wines to be inferior.

This persistent image has prevented many organic wineries from labelling their wines as organic – as many as two-thirds of California’s certified organic wineries have no organic labelling on their bottles.

Hopefully, studies like this recent one will help to dispel this damaging myth about organic wines and encourage consumers to buy more organic so green wineries can finally be out and proud.