What Is Organic Wine - And Why Should I Care?
You may have heard the terms natural and organic wines thrown around, but have you ever stopped to wonder what they actually mean? We’re here to tell you the difference between them, and why you should care.
Before we get into it, natural wines are very different to organic wines. Natural wine is a term used to describe wine that has had nothing added or removed from it during the process.
So, what is organic wine?
Organic wine is on the rise, and the production of organic wine is dramatically increasing due to demand and popularity. Simply put, organic wine is wine that is made without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides. Rather than using toxic chemicals to prevent weeds and bugs, growers implement a different set of practices to maintain their vines. Since there’s no way of preventing weeds and bugs without these chemicals, organic farmers have to work with nature, rather than against it, by increasing the biodiversity of their vineyard and creating a natural and self-regulating ecosystem.
For example, they might round up some sheep to graze on grass and weeds between the vine rows, or plant trees and plants to encourage predatory insects – like wasps and bees – to pollinate the vineyard and eat small mites and insects. Some growers will introduce cover crops which are used to cover the soil. Cover crops also attract helpful insects, improve soil health, smother weeds, and control pests and diseases. These methods allow organic farmers to eliminate the need for artificial and toxic chemicals. Not only is this good for wine drinkers, but the workers on the vineyard are no longer being directly exposed to these potentially harmful products, nor are the chemicals contaminating waterways and surrounding properties – We’d say that’s a win.
How does a wine become certified organic?
The process of certifying a wine as organic can be a difficult process. Many companies go through a three-year conversion period before getting the tick of approval from either Australian Certified Organic (ACO) or the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA). Once approved, yearly audits are conducted to ensure the entire process consistently complies with strict standards.
Due to this process, some wines on the market are made with an entirely organic process from start to finish but aren’t actually organic certified. There are many different reasons for this, but it means that you, as the drinker and ultimate decision-marker, need to do your research. If you’re ever unsure, just look out for the ACO or NASAA logo on the bottle. Then you know you’re drinking the real stuff.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing organic wines.
Of course, not consuming potentially harmful chemicals is a big yes for our bodies and for the planet. However, the main reason people choose to drink organic over non-organic wines is either the taste or the sustainability of the process. It really is a personal preference, so just do your research and try a few different bottles to find your favourite. Remember: organic wine doesn’t have to be expensive!
Best thing to do is get sipping and find your own style. Not sure where to start? Here are our top recommendations:
- Farm Hand Organic Wines offers a wide range of wines, from Shiraz and Sangiovese to Rosé and Pinot Grigio. Quickly becoming one of Australia’s leading organic wine labels, Farm Hand wines are organic, vegan, sustainable, and gluten-free.
- The Natural Wine Co offer a range of organic wines containing no acids, preservatives, or finings. Their wine is also vegan and sulphite free.
- Angove offers another vegan-friendly organic wine. This 134-year-old wine company guarantees 100% sustainability with the future at the top of their mind during their winemaking processes.
- Sequence of Events have created a refreshing, delectable Chardonnay from McLaren Vale that offers white stone fruit and green apple flavours. Crafted from only the finest grapes, we recommend getting your hands on some today.
Remember, if you find a bottle you love, make sure you keep track of it with cellartags. You can use cellartags to write down all of the important information, including varietal, price, tasting notes, and whether or not it’s organic! If you plan on trying a few different bottles, cellartags can help you remember which ones you loved and which ones weren’t for you with a dedicated spot to write your own rating.