If you want a good deal on a high-end bottle of wine, a new study suggests you should look for wines that clearly indicate they’re made from organic grapes. An economics professor and an environmental science Ph.D. candidate compared wines made with certified organically grown grapes to conventional wines, looking at both price and taste rankings, and found that the organic ones scored on average one point higher on Wine Spectator’s rankings. For some reason, telling that to consumers seems to devalue the wine: high-scoring bottles that advertised their organic nature sold for less at retail, while bottles that withheld this info scored just as high on taste but also were priced higher than average.
The authors say they suspect organic wine still carries a bad reputation due to lower quality stuff from the 70s and 80s, and due to the fact that really hardcore organic wine doesn’t use preservatives and tends to turn to vinegar much faster that regular wine. This doesn’t hold true for wines made with certified organically grown grapes because they can and do contain the normal preservatives–they’re just made with higher quality grapes.
Don’t expect the same pricing behavior at the lower end of the market, though. The study says both certification and eco-labels had no impact on price or taste for cheaper bottles.
“For California Vintners, It’s Not Easy Being Green” [Science Daily via Vinography] (Thanks to Vivek!)