Organic Wine, Why We Do it....

Ducks

Jun 14, 2019

Chances are that if you pour yourself a glass of organic wine tonight, the steak and salad on your plate will also be organically grown.

Making an organic choice is tribal, you either care or you don’t, and for most of us the driver to chose organic is the reduction in chemical use, benefiting both our health and the health of the environment.

While every Australian grape grower tries to minimise the use of chemicals, both for their budget and the environment, most still use some chemical herbicides to control weeds, synthetic fungicides to control outbreaks of powdery or downy mildew and pesticides, to manage the occasional infestation of grape and vine eating bugs.

Although our health regulations demand that farmers use very low levels of these products, there’s plenty of research to show that even widely available herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup) may be carcinogenic and pesticide residues can affect sperm quality in men and cause developmental delays in children.

At Angove we are committed to organic viticulture and winemaking. We have just over 500 hectares of vineyard managed organically, making us one of the largest certified organic winemakers in Australia.

This certification ensures that weeds are controlled without herbicides, instead we use native pasture grasses, tillage and slashing. Fungal diseases are controlled using natural products, and pests are managed by encouraging natural predators.

The one big difference between organic and non-organic wines is the level of sulphur used- organic wines must have concentrations of no more than 150ppm. This is much less than the standard non-organic wine which could have up to 300ppm. At Angove all of our organic wines have less than 100ppm sulphur and our non-organic wines also have lower than average sulphur concentrations.

Sulphur (or sulfites) are a naturally occurring by-product of the fermentation process so there will always be a low level in wine. But by using new winemaking techniques and carefully managing the fruit from vineyard to barrel, much less sulphur dioxide needs to be added to the wine as a preservative.

Buying an organic wine means you get all of the varietal flavour, complexity and structure without the preservatives. Many of our customers say they can taste the difference and we think there is a definite freshness, vibrancy and sense of place to our organic wines. Additionally, you can be safe in the knowledge that you have made a small but significant contribution to agricultural sustainability and the health of the Australian environment.