Green Wine

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Organic? Sustainable? Biodynamic? What does it all mean and what are the benefits (if any) of buying wines with these labels?

It is that time of year again when we start off with dry January or maybe ‘not so much wine January', now into sensible drinking February, we have reignited those gym memberships and we are also trying to do 80% of our shopping from the vegetable aisle. Some of you are now starting to look at the wine too, and we have had several of you more recently enquiring about… organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines.

So… Green Wine?

Organic? Sustainable? Biodynamic? What does it all mean and what are the benefits (if any) of buying wines with these labels?

We all want do our bit for our ever increasingly threatened environment but are these wines all they say they are…?

The simple answer is no, but this is more down to the many different rules and regulations that accompany these tags. For example; an organic wine from USA has to be made from organic grapes using only organic additives such as yeasts or fining agents and cannot contain sulphates (used to stabilise a wine). EU organic wines follow the same rules but are allowed to contain certain levels of sulphates.                                                                                                                                                    Reassurance No 1 - many of our wine producers are small age-old family concerns where they have been using minimal intervention for years, which, whilst not all are fully certified organic, they certainly follow the principles but just don't have the stamp to prove it.

Great organic wines to try...

                                                     Adobe Carmenère Ontañón Ecológico Rioja

 Adobe Carmenere from Chile and Ontanon Ecologico Rioja 

Two of our favourite organic wines are the Adobe Carmenere from Chile, Adobe been voted one of the best vineyards in Chile. The the Ontanon Ecologico as features in Decanter Magasine for top Rioja to try! 

So… Sustainable wines?

Sustainability in wines is another tough one to decipher and with wine it is more down to the huge variety of climates and environmental factors where wine is produced and the associated factors that these contribute. For example, a drier region can struggle more with water supply, so attention must be focussed on how to use water efficiently.

Sustainability is all about cause and effect and as far as possible reducing any potential harm such as over-use of pesticides whilst keeping a keen eye on any future impact. The many rules attached to certification in sustainability also apply to the bigger picture of caring for the workforce and their future too as well as encompassing sound business practice. Reassurance No 2 -  94% of New Zealand's & 84% of South Africa's vineyards are certified as sustainable

Great sustainable wines to try...

                                                Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Gris      Cline Cellars Lodi Zinfandel

Sileni Pinot Gris, Hawkes Bay and Cline Lodi Zinfandel 

So… Biodynamic wines?

Biodynamic methods are becoming increasingly popular and many of you will know and love our friends at Waterkloof in South Africa who are champions of this cause. To my mind Biodynamics encompass the best of organic viticulture and sustainability. Yes, it involves a whole lot more effort on the wine-makers part but surely that demonstrates the passion, time and effort they are willing to invest in creating the best their land can produce?  It is, in essence, the theory that everything is interlinked, from the earth to the skies and basically what you put in you get out! Cause and effect at its best - as Waterkloof wines prove time and time again.

Final reassurance -  even the smallest steps contribute, so buy local and from a supplier who knows the wines provenance. Just don't forget to recycle the bottles when you're done!

Great biodynamic wines to try...

                                              Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc, Waterkloof      Circle of Life Red

Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc and Circle of Lift Red

If you are interested in finding out more about Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable wines then why don't you have a look at our website where you can filter on these categories and read up more on the subject or pop in to our shop in Bakewell.

Last Updated: 16/02/2017
Author: Judd Slack

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