CHARTRAND IMPORTS began importing organically grown French wines to the U.S. in 1985. It was the first American company to import and sell a complete selection of organic wines nationwide. Paul Chartrand, owner and founder, worked in the natural foods and organic farming movement after studying chemical engineering at Columbia University. He discovered many wonderful European organic wines while working as an apprentice on French organic farms and vineyards in 1982. Since then, he has been developing relationships with Europe’s finest organic wine makers in order to bring their wines to American wine lovers.
We only sell wines that are certified organically grown by an independent third party verification. In France there are three such organizations with basically the same standards: Ecocert, Biofranc, and Qualité France They work with standards approved by the French Ministry of Agriculture for the sale of foods as organically grown, or “biologique.”
Organic wines are produced using only organically grown grapes. Synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are not allowed on the vines or in the soil. Strict rules also govern the wine making process and storage conditions. Many substances used to stabilize or to assist wine to be more palatable are avoided by organic growers. Only pure sulphur dioxide is used as an anti-oxidant, and amounts allowed are far less than common usage in Europe or the U.S. This sulfite has been used for centuries in wine making. Without the harmless treatment, a wine maker risks producing an inconsistent or extremely fragile wine. We offer several wines that are made with no added sulfur, in addition to our full line of organic, low sulfite wines.
Many persons find organic wines to be more easily drinkable and more flavorful than wines made by more industrial standards. The healthy soil contributes to a rich and full flavored wine, in balance and requiring no extra additives. In addition we are supporting farmers who preserve their soil and their communities by avoiding the many chemical fertilizers and pesticides commonly used on grapes. They choose organic methods to obtain the ripest and richest grapes possible. Their wines reflect that dedication.
Chartrand Imports offers more than 50 selected organic French, Italian, Spanish, New Zealand, and Argentine (home of our most popular new brand) wines as well as organic wines from California and Washington State. Wholesale distributors sell these throughout the United States. We gladly help restaurants and stores obtain our wines wholesale and offer mail order service to individuals in most areas not served by our retailers.