Giving Organic Beverages a Shot


Organic wine makes up only two percent of the overall wine market in the US, but is emerging as the fastest growing wine category, as case volume grew by 10 percent in 2016, five times the average for regular wine.

The growth, however, hasn’t come easy. Katrina Frey of Frey Vineyards and Phil LaRocca of LaRocca Vineyards spearheaded the first certified organic vineyards in the country, and will be sharing their stories on the challenges faced in producing organic wine as part of an educational session at next weeks’ Organic Grower Summit, “Giving Organic Beverages A Shot.”

Katrina Frey of Frey Vineyards

Organics Unlimited

“There was a taste stigma that was hard to overcome. Back in the 1980’s there was some really bad organic wine out there. Everyone was trying to figure out how to make good wine without sulfur dioxide," Frey recalled. 

LaRocca Vineyards is the largest producer of bulk organic wines in the nation, growing over 300 percent the last four years. LaRocca agrees with Frey that consumer acceptance for organic wines has taken awhile to gain traction. ”In the beginning organic beverages were neglected, and organic grape growing was frowned on in academic circles. They said it was impossible to do, that you couldn’t make a good organic wine. Over the years we proved them wrong and we are seeing steady growth now,“ he said.

Phil LaRocca of LaRocca Vineyards

Under current standard, The USDA organic seal can only be applied to wine made with 100 percent organic grapes and organic materials, with no additional materials.  The “made with organic” label must use 100 percent certified organic grapes and no more than 25% other additives.

Organic Ag Products - Rectangle

“Alcohol doesn’t have an ingredient panel like other products”, Frey said, “as lobbying over the years prevented a mandatory ingredient panel. There is a list of 80 chemicals used in the conventional wine industry including nutrients, colors, stabilizers and acids.”

According to CCOF the number of certified organic wine grape acres increased by 15 percent between 2016-2017. But converting to organic isn’t as easy.    “The hardest think for people converting to organic is controlling weeds. It’s more time consuming than spraying Roundup, but it can be done – it’s a mindset, LaRocca said. “On the bright side we have organic botanical fungicides that work better than conventional.”

The future is bright for organic wine, Frey said, as more growers switch from conventional. “The producer of Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck is converting 5000 acres to CCOF certification and replacing glyphosate with an organic product. There is a sea change coming that will create increased demand for organic beverages.”  

Nature Safe Naturals
Organic Grower Summit 2018
Thanksgiving Organic Produce Sales Up Double Digits; Romaine Sales Plunge 40 Percent

Thanksgiving Organic Produce Sales Up Double Digits; Romaine Sales Plunge 40 Percent


As expected, organic produce continued it's ascent in importance for Thanksgiving food purchases, with retailers raking in 11 percent more dollars and selling 13 percent ore pounds of organic produce than last year's Thanksgiving, according to research firm Nielsen.

Read More
Organic Navel & Mandarins Ripe for Promotion

Organic Navel & Mandarins Ripe for Promotion


Mother Nature was kind to California citrus trees this year, producing a very good supply of organic navels and mandarins, both of which are in prime position for holiday promotions.

Read More
Organic Growers Summit and Safeguarding the Organic Brand

Organic Growers Summit and Safeguarding the Organic Brand


At next week’s Organic Grower Summit, an educational session will be devoted to how California is leading the way in protecting the integrity of the organic brand for the organic industry and consumers across the country.  

Read More
Top 5 - Organic News to Help You Grow

Top 5 - Organic News to Help You Grow


1. Organic Grower Summit Announces Grower of the Year Award Recipient 

2. Nick Fitzpatrick Joins the Team at Apeel Sciences

3. Growing Unconventionality: 2018 Good Fruit Growers of the Year

4. Organto Foods Inc. Establishes Organto de Mexico

5. Peru: 8,000 Organic Banana Producers Will Apply Ozone Technology

Read More
Organic Ag Products - Rectangle
Nature Safe Naturals
Organic Grower Summit 2018