Is organic wine really better wine?

Is organic wine really better wine?

Organic wine – like organic food – is better for us and better for the environment but is organic wine really better wine?

To be organic, a wine must come from a winery where at no stage during the wine making process have synthetic chemicals been used.

The French speak of terroir – defined as “the coming together of the climate, the soil and the landscape” – and its significance in winemaking. Soil is arguably the most essential component of terroir but what is not argued is that soil depth, structure, pH, minerals, water retention and microbes are of paramount importance to the wines produced (Halliday, 2008). Organic and biodynamic farms have much healthier soils – diverse in microbes, with earthworms visibly active – and as a result they have much healthier vines. Synthetic chemicals – e.g. chemical fertilizers – significantly affect these key attributes of a soil, adversely affect the vines and adversely affect the terroir in general; therefore in my opinion, adversely affect the wine. You will never get a true expression of the terroir if the terroir has been unnaturally modified by humankind.
The late Peter Sichel, former president of the Grand Crus de Bordeaux, stated “Terroir determines the character of a wine, man its quality” (Halliday, 2008).

OK there are many factors that determine the quality of a wine – some like weather are fickle and others like the expertise of the winemaker are of course “controllable” – but a true expression of the terroir, a true expression of the character of a wine, is where it all starts. If you get that wrong then no amount of manipulation is going to produce a wine of the very highest quality. Organic winemakers get this and therefore inevitably produce better wine as a result. Organic wine and biodynamic wine is simply better wine. And the wine industry in Australia is starting to take notice. Many of Australia’s top wineries are organic or biodynamic – Grosset, Frankland Estate, Cullen and Stefano Lubiana to name a few – and many more are converting as they too can see that organic and biodynamic practices are consistently producing better quality wines.

At The Organic Wine Cellar we have an amazing array of premium organic and biodynamic wines. I can personally attest to their authenticity – we only sell wine from certified organic or biodynamic wineries – and to their quality.

Halliday, J 2008, ‘Wine Atlas of Australia’, Hardie Grant Books, Prahran, Victoria, Australia.

First published 16/8/2014
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