Of the three main categories of booze — wine, beer and spirits —the former is by far the most difficult to produce organically, at least in the U.S. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s certification process, organic wines cannot contain added sulfites, which are chemicals added to wines to inoculate against bad bacteria.
“American wines can label their bottles as ‘organically grown grapes,’ but the prohibition against added sulfites makes it difficult to produce quality wine that will last,” said Clayton Bahr, a wine representative for Putnam Wines. “Any wine that is truly certified organic will have a short shelf life.”
Europe solved the problem by allowing winemakers to add the sulfites. In Oklahoma, Putnam Wines represents Kermit Lynch, whose portfolio includes dozens of organic wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley.
Bahr said to look for Beaujolais, especially Cru Beaujolais, if organic choices are important.
“Their method in that region has always been organic, and even biodynamic,” he said. “The same is true of Burgundy.”
You can find a large selection of Kermit Lynch wines at 2nd Street Wine Co., 1340 E. Second in Edmond.
The metro has had a wide selection of American “organic” wines for some time. St. Supery, for example, has the most “Napa Green” certified acreage in the region. The wines are high quality, and this year — for the first — local wine connoisseurs have access to St. Supery rosé, a blend of five Bordeaux grapes. It’s available at Bin 73, 7312 N. Western, and Byron’s, 2322 N. Broadway.
Medlock Ames, another premium organic producer, is finally available in Oklahoma. The Sonoma winery’s organically grown grapes are sourced from Alexander Valley.
The Medlock Ames line includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, a red blend and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are available at Vin Dolce, 16 S. Broadway in Edmond; Beau’s Wine Bin, 2810 W. Country Club Dr.; and Hob Nob Robs, 2201 W. Main in Norman.
For beer drinkers, it’s also difficult to find quality certified organic products. Fortunately, a few premium breweries have organic options. Samuel Smith makes a line of organic fruit ales, as well as an organic pale ale. Also from England, Wychwood makes Scarecrow pale ale, and German brewery Pinkus produces an entire line of organic beers. McNellie’s, 1100 Classen Dr., and Tapwerks, 121 E. Sheridan, both have several organic options.
Finally, for the vodka drinkers, American Harvest recently launched its certified organic vodka in the state. Red Prime Steak, 504 N. Broadway, hosted the premiere party and has now added American Harvest to its vodka choices. It’s also available at both Rococo locations and Ingrid’s Kitchen, 3701 N. Youngs.