Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine? I know I look forward to one on a Friday night. If you’re like me and dread the early morning wakeups from your kids the next day because of the headaches that wine usually comes with, this article might just rock your world.
Organic and biodynamic wines are fast becoming the wines of choice for many because they don’t contain any of those nasty chemicals found in normal wine. And, with the production of organic grapes in Australia growing by 120% between 2011 and 2014, Australians are clearly on to a good thing.
Organic wine – what’s the difference?
Organic wine is made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. This wine is also processed without chemical preservatives, colours, taste-makers, or reagents.
Organic farmers are truly dedicated to using environmentally-friendly farming practices, helping create a cleaner, greener planet.
To keep the bugs at bay, organic farmers introduce cover crops to provide a habitat for insects that are the natural enemy of a problem wine grape pest. Or they have sheep graze between the vine rows, controlling the growth of grass and weeds.
In this way, the vineyard becomes a self-regulating, natural ecosystem, which is able to combat problems intrinsically and eliminates the need for toxic chemicals.
We all want to enjoy a glass of wine but do we really need those toxins entering our bodies at the same time? Nuh uh.
No sneaky sulphites = no horrible hangovers
For a wine to be considered organic, apart from the lack of chemicals in its production, it must also have no added sulphites. An organic wine can have naturally-occurring sulphites, but the total sulphite level must be less than 20 parts per million.
In mainstream wine production, sulphite or sulphur dioxide is used as an added preservative in wine to protect the wine from spoiling.
They sound okay, but for most they don’t feel okay.
Added sulphites may cause negative side effects, like nasal congestion, an itchy throat, a runny nose, skin rash, and hives in some people. Sulphites are also responsible for those nasty hangovers you get after drinking too much red wine the night before.
So, next time you choose a bottle of wine – look for an organic wine without those sneaky sulphites.
Is your wine really organic?
Just because your wine bottle says it uses organic grapes, doesn’t mean it comes from a truly organic winemaker. Watch out!
To make sure you’re really buying organic you should look for a certification logo such as Australian Certified Organic (ACO) or the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA).
It takes three years for a farmer to gain organic status and industry certification. There is a strict process they need to follow to convert their farming from standard to organic. Organic farmers strive to build naturally-healthy soils, which result in healthier and more resilient plants and animals that don’t require chemical controls.
The next time you’re in your local bottle shop, look out for that important certification logo to make sure your next bottle is truly organic.
Organic wine – the benefits beyond those banished headaches
Here’s the billion-dollar question. Can wine really be good for us? Well actually, a lot of research suggests it can be. As long as you drink in moderation, it’s believed there are many health benefits associated with drinking wine, especially red wine.
Here’s a snapshot:
- Increased life longevity
- Protection against certain cancers
- Improved mental health
- Enhanced heart health
- Prevention of memory loss
- Exposure to anti-inflammatory properties
Red wine also has the added benefit of containing resveratrol which helps prevent age-related memory loss.
Plus, by drinking organic wine, you get the added advantage of being protected from the nasty chemicals found in normal wine, and our planet gets the added benefit of reduced chemicals entering soil, water and air systems.
So, once you’ve finished that delicious drop, you’ve not only done something positive for your body, but also for the environment. It’s a win all round.
Who’s leading the charge?
There are so many new and established organic wine-makers in Australia. They’re not only creating organic wine because it’s good for the environment, but because they believe it genuinely tastes better. But you’ll have to do some research of your own to be truly sure!
Some of Australia’s most reputed organic winemakers are:
- Battle of Bosworth
- Whistling Kite
- Pure Vision Wines
- Organic Hill
- J&J Wines
- Temple Bruer
- Temple Breuer
- Pig In The House
Organic wine – is it better?
A recent study from the University of California assessed the quality of 74,148 wines produced in California between 1998 and 2009. The study found that, on average, wines made with certified organic grapes scored 4.1 points higher than non-organic wines.
So, there you have it. Organic wine is better for you and better for the environment. As to whether it tastes better… well, you’ll have to find out for yourself!