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08.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

ORGANIC WINE? NOT SO FAST

Everywhere you look these days products tout themselves as organic. But are they really? It would seem that some companies have taken liberties with their definition of organic. Restrictions, however, are tightening. Based on a memorandum between the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has alerted the industry that AMS has changed the labeling policies for wines which contain both organic and non-organic grapes. If a wine label claims it is “Made with Organic Ingredients” and contains organic and non-organic grapes, the statement on the label must say one of the following: “Made with Organic and Non-Organic Grapes”; “Made with Organic [variety] Grapes and Non-Organic [variety] Grapes”; “Made with _% Organic Grapes and _% Grapes”; “Made with _% Organic [variety] Grapes and _% Non-Organic [variety] Grapes”. Wines restricted to an “Organic Ingredients” statement must indicate the presence of any non-organic grapes in the “Organic Ingredients” statement. Here’s an example: Organic Merlot grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, tartaric acid. The wine must also bear a percentage statement, such as “55% Organic Ingredients.”

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