What does Organic and Natural wine mean?

Published by Tamara Harrison - 14th Oct 2019

Angels often ask winemakers, Emma Kenneally and Swan Altschwager from Altschwager & Kenneally Wines, what the term ‘Organic’ means. So here they are to explain.

Kia Ora Angels,
It’s Emma & Swan from the Altschwager & Kenneally Team

Organic wine is better for you and the environment.

The label “organic” is used for grapes that are grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming. Organics is not just “chemical-free”. It’s a whole system or holistic means of growing and handling food. The whole system is linked; soil, plants, animals, food, people’s and environment. Certified Organic products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or GMO’s. In Australia and New Zealand, organic vineyards and wineries are certified. Any farm, producer or manufacturer operating to satisfy the organic standards is assessed and audited every year.

Organic wine is most often the best expression of both the grape and the terroir, the land, and environment in which it is grown.

Better soil = better crops = better wine.

“Natural” Wines:
The hot-button wine term of the moment, “natural wine,” has no legal definition but broadly refers to wines made without adding or subtracting anything in the cellar—no additives, no chemicals, no sulfur, no oak character from barrels, no filtering, no cultured yeasts, you name it.

The use of this unregulated term refers to only the winemaking process after grapes are mature, not the way the grapes are planted, grown and harvested.

“Natural wines” generally do not have added sulfites, though there will still be naturally occurring sulphites present. Many people say “natural wines” taste “wilder.” It’s also commonly held that natural wines should be drunk sooner rather than later, due to the lack of added sulfites.

Natural wines can be made from conventional grapes and therefore contain synthetic fungicides and herbicides.

Whether you want to try organic, biodynamic, natural or just your everyday standard wine, there is something for everyone. So, the next time you see an organic wine and wonder if the added cost is worth it, ask yourself what the chemical burden on your body and the depletion of the earth is worth. There is a lot of difference between these different types of wines, from the soil to the bottle.


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