WTF Is Organic Wine And Is It Better For You?
Did someone say wine time?
That's the question on our lips often here at ten daily, and while we can debate the wisdom of drinking another time quite frankly, what we want to know today is is organic wine actually better to drink? (Asking for a friend here...)
According to wine expert Mike Bennie, yes it is. "In the same way free range eggs, or single source meat proteins are worth it, or a trip to the farmer’s markets. Investing in process and provenance is increasingly more important. Do you want to organic chicken breast or the non-organic chicken breast on your plate? The free range egg or cage farmed egg for breakfast? Wine should be considered the same way."
So what IS organic wine exactly? In a nutshell it's a wine made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. But that's not all, it's actually against the law for a wine producer to sell or promote their wine as organic if it's not certified.
Yep, for the wine you're drinking to call itself truly organic, it must be certified by an independent third-party organisation, which carries out annual audits, to ensure that the grapes comply with the strict standards of both the particular certifying body and the department of agriculture.
We thought we'd look at some myths and truths surrounding organic plonk. You can shout us one next time you see us...
It's posh and therefore pricey
Not strictly true. "Costs for organic wines range from around $10 a bottle up to sky-is-the-limit, so there is something for everyone," says Mike. "But generally, there is no ‘organic tax’ for wine prices, just better farming behind the wine you are drinking. And that counts for a lot."
It's just a fad
Anyone who says this needs to get more experience with them, Mike told ten daily. "Try more of the wines, embrace the breadth of expressions, seek out the intent of the winemakers, understand the audience -- it is here to stay, and has been here for a long, long time, it's just more vocal now. The wines are exciting and energising interest in wine generally, so should be tasted with enthusiasm."
Okay, if you insist Mike!
It tastes different
"All wine is individual" Mike said. "All wines taste different, the winemaking overlay can influence all wines and styles despite being organic, biodynamic or natural. Taste comparisons have to be made on individual wines. Natural wine can be more pure-feeling, inherently digestible, bright, wild, crazy, unusual, unexpected at times."
It gives you less of a hangover
"All alcohol is poison, so hangovers occur regardless, but your body processing less additives is likely going to reduce severity of hangovers by degree, at times," Mike said. But it goes even deeper -- organic wine contains half the maximum legal limit of sulphur dioxide (220) – a common preservative in wine that is used to inhibit or kill unwanted yeasts and bacteria, and the main culprit for those shocking hangovers, the next day.
In fact, it's true --particularly if you are sensitive to sulphur, then drinking organic wines can be a less hangover inducing choice.
Mike Bennie's picks for your palate...
Blind Corner Field Blend Try this red from this biodynamic organic winery for around $45 a bottle.
Stefano Lubiana, Tasmania, Pinot Noir is worth a glass, in our book. RRP $38
Cobaw Ridge in the Macedon Ranges were Certified Organic in 2009 and Certified Biodynamic in 2011. We say try the Il Pinko. Around $35
Ngeringa, in the Adelaide Hills is a certified biodynamic vineyard. Try the uncultured Syrah for something different. RRP $30
Yangarra, McLaren Vale -- try the 2018 Blanc for a cruisy $25.
Can't wait for your online order or want something a little less costly? Why not suss out these organic treats, all available from BWS (thanks to Chris Mattes, Merchandise Manager Wine).
Giesen Organic Sauvignon Blanc, 2 for $45.