Korbel Chapagne Cellars from Sonoma Valley in California has introduced the first California Brut Champagne made entirely with organically grown grapes, according to a press release issued today. It will be available to consumers beginning next month with a suggested retail price of $15.99 a bottle.

The winery, which has incorporated other sustainable methods over the years such as land conservation, recycling and reclaiming of materials, received its organic processor certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in 2007.
The grapes used to make the new Korbel California Brut Champagne have been produced according to the USDA organic certification requirements as the fruit is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Like all Korbel California champagnes, the new Korbel Brut with organically grown grapes is made according to the traditional methode champenoise technique where secondary fermentation takes place inside the bottle which results in perfect pinpoint bubbles.
Don’t go looking for the USDA Organic seal on the bottles, however. Made with 100 percent organic grapes doesn’t necessarily mean the champagne meets USDA organic standards. If there are other ingredients in the champagne that don’t meet the guidelines, they won’t have the label.

Because of new, somewhat confusing, wine labeling guidelines, the bottles will most likely contain words that are similar to “Ingredients: Organic Grapes.” The guidelines don’t allow the bottle to say “100% organic” grapes because consumers might confuse that statement with a USDA endorsement.

Just because the champagne might not have the USDA Organic seal does not mean it’s not a fine choice as far as organics go. I haven’t had the opportunity to sample the champagne yet, but once I do I’ll let you know if I think it’s a fine choice as far as champagnes go, too.

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