Next week is the very first annual Organic Wine Week, running from September 17-23. One of the most popular questions I get asked is can I recommend a “healthy” wine to which I always rely, simply, no. Wine is alcohol & alcohol is a drug, however if you are looking for some healthier choices within alcohol then organic wine is definitely the way to go.
Why? - Basically because you know what you're consuming, Organic wines, like any organic produce are produced with the support of natural and biological products only and include absolutely no synthetic chemicals.
Organic growers must work to grow the healthiest possible grapevines, as they don’t have the option of killing any pest or disease with pesticides. However, the wonderful result is beautiful, flavourful wines, a true expression of the land (or terroir) they come from. Increasingly., organic wines are being recognised as better wines. Each year Air New Zealand list of the country’s top fine wine, this year 67 wines were selected, 30% of the wines were certified organic. The theory of organic is simple - leave the vines & let balance return to nature & get a better grape and ultimately a better wine.
Also, the world wants more organic - everything - currently the value of certified organic wine exports is $46.5million. People all around the world want a taste of clean, green New Zealand.
Currently over 10% of New Zealand wineries now hold organic certification (72 wineries out of 677 total wineries) and there are plenty more going through the long (and expensive) process of certification. Those that are certified you will know as they will proudly sport the BioGro Certification logo on the bottle.
To date a lot of the certified organics I have tried have been reds, there are some great whites but imagine how excited I was to get my hot little hands on New Zealand’s very first certified organic ROSE! Woo hoo. Chris Darling & Bart Arnst have been making wine since 2007 & are steadfastly committed to organics. The Darling Wines Rose 2018 is quite literally hot off the presses and it’s a stunna, made from pinot noir this rose is pale pink, beautifully dry with lovely strawberry flavours, but where this wine excels is the texture, it has a complex feel in the mouth that is next level. All that and it has it’s own Spotify playlist, yea seriously…all that for the bargain price of $23 give Darling Rose a search, open a bottle, press play, sit back and enjoy.
To say Prosecco is having a moment right now is such an understatement, it is exploding! Thomson & Scott founder Amanda Thomson had a mother who was very health conscious so Amanda had to balance that knowledge with the fact that she loved the enjoyment of having a social drinkie, from there Skinny Prosecco was born.
This DOC Prosecco is 100% Organic with less than 7 grams of residual sugar, which is absolutely bone dry for a sparkling. It’s also vegan & super drinkable, it’s clean, crisp & delicious, which is what a good Prosecco should be. It is a premium product, retailing at $33 but it’s Selfridge’s in the UK’s top selling so clearly they are doing something right. One thing I will say about this wine is that it’s not really a food wine, this is one to enjoy on the deck with some friends in the sunshine.
I cannot begin to explain how much of a fan I am of Black Estate from North Canterbury. When I first moved to NZ and worked in hospo this was my “treat myself” wine and I shared more than one bottle with my beloved friend Matt as we solved the world’s problems. Husband & wife team Penelope & Nicolas are some of the hardest working people in wine and are passionate about organics. They own 3 vineyards, Home, Damsteep & Netherwood and while the wine they sent me is the Netherwood 2015 which is alive with flavours of vibrant red fruits like cherries and raspberries and is fruity, floral with fine tannins, basically everything a good pinot noir should be, it is pricey at $65. So I have to also give props to the Home Pinot Noir 2016 which is an equally remarkable wine and $40, I know that still sound like a decent whack of cash but trust me when I say it is worth it delicious dark berry fruits with earthiness and hints of herb. This was the wine I drank even though I couldn’t afford it back in the day, so it will forever have a place in my heart.
For more information on Organic wine week, including events happening near you go to www.organicwinenz.com/organic-wine-week
Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl Nissen about organic wines on the RadioLIVE Long Lunch