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Raise A Glass: USDA Defines Requirements For Organic Wine Labels

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Raise A Glass: USDA Defines Requirements For Organic Wine Labels

Agency Defines Organic Composition Needed For Labels

Organic labels have been the hot topic for food in 2012. That trend has even branched out to alcohol production, as a new range of organic products has captured many consumers' attention. But like any other organic product, winemakers need to achieve certain levels of organic compounds to get federal-backed labels, which have been recently updated.

According to The Capital Press, the USDA National Organic Program has issued new definitions for four classes of organic wine that producers need to understand in order to get correct labeling.

USDA Labels Reserved For Most Organic Wines
In order for wine to display "100 percent organic" USDA labels, grapes and other agricultural ingredients like yeast must be certified as organic, producers clearly state their certifying agency and did not add sulfites to their wine. "Organic" labels carry the same requirements, except wines under this label are allowed to have up to 5 percent of its ingredients be non-organic.

"Made with organic ingredients" requires grapes to be certified, but allows for added sulfites and cannot bear an approved USDA organic seal. "Some organic ingredients" is defined as wine with more than 30 percent non-organically produced ingredients.

A Washington state organic wine producer told The Press the regulations not only helped clarify the different federally recognized classes, but also helped customers better understand the evolving market for organic wines.