GRAPESThis has long been the belief of the organic and biodynamic camps, but proving it scientifically has always seemed next to impossible.

However, a new study by members of the American Association of Wine Economics, reveals a significant link between organic wine and high scores from three highly esteemed wine publications.

The study focused on a pool of wine – 74,148 bottlings produced in California between 1998 and 2009. The publications it drew scores from are The Wine Advocate, The Wine Spectator and The Wine Enthusiast.

“Our results indicate that eco-certification is associated with a significant increase in wine quality ratings,” the study reported.

Eco-certification is an umbrella term, covering organic certifications from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and biodynamic certifications from the Demeter Association.

I’m excited about this study because my palate has been convinced of its findings for years. I knew it was true in my tastings, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to prove it on a large scale.

This has been a trusted fact for many of us in Wine Country, even though we didn’t have statistics to back it up. Phil Coturri, one of Sonoma’s most revered vineyard managers, is most definitely in this camp.

Coturri has said, “It was a natural evolution to grow grapes organically. Winemakers are glorified chefs who cook once a year.”

Coturri’s son Sam has said his father had “coyote magic” in selling organic farming to people, alluding to the Native American legend. The owner of Sonoma’s Enterprise Vineyards, has more than 600 acres of vines certified organic under his supervision.

Coturri has long held the belief that organic produce trumps all. As he put it: “If an organic tomato is going to taste better than a hot-house tomato, an organic grape is going to taste better than a conveniently-grown grape.”