Frequently Asked Questions
Organic wine is made using only organically certified grapes, grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers. Since the 2012 vintage, new winemaking regulations mean the whole process is certified from harvest to bottle and the term 'Organic Wine' can be displayed on bottles..
Benefits can be numerous! Taste for a start, organic grapes are healthy and balanced and are of course the raw ingredient for any great wine. Health benefits include ingesting less man made toxins, especially pesticide residues and less sulphur dioxide too which is the 'wine preservative'. By drinking 'organic' you are also helping support a cleaner environment and protect soils and water.
Biodynamics goes further than organics. Based on a holistic system of agriculture developed by Rudolf Steiner back in the 1920's, it's grown in popularity hugely over recent years, on many top estates, showing great results. Focus is on improving soil and plant health, using specially activated composts along with herbal and mineral sprays. Applications and most other vineyard practices are carried out at certain times on particular days, predetermined by the movement and positioning of the moon and outer planets. Simply try the wine!
This more recent wine terminology relates to 'low intervention' wine. It includes organic growing, very low or even 'no-sulphur' in winemaking with the philosophy of 'letting the wine make itself'. Natural wine makers are an enthusiastic and passionate group who have formed their own movement, though as yet the term 'natural' is not clearly defined. Indeed by default, many of our wines are 'natural'.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) is the most widely used and controversial additive in winemaking. Used as an antiseptic to kill off unwanted bacteria, yeasts and moulds, and as an antioxidant to inhibit oxygen spoiling the wine. An increasing number of people are sensitive or have allergic reactions to sulphur (headaches, wheeziness, a more groggy morning after feeling), and want to avoid it or ingest as little as possible. The good news is that organic wines have lower set levels generally, and within our List we detail 'LS' (Low Sulphur') and 'NS' (No Sulphur Added) wines, giving you the choice. Low Sulphur: From the low initial 'organic status' level, we've taken wines which use only 50% of that or less to be in this category. (75mg/litre or less for whites and rosé and 50mg/litre for reds). No Sulphur: These are the wines with the lowest sulphur levels you will find anywhere. None at all is added, though tiny amounts can be produced as a natural by-product of the fermentation process.
This might sound strange, but some animal based products can be used in winemaking to 'fine' or clarify the wine. This is true for all wines, not just organic. Common products used include animal gelatin, isinglass (a fish based product), egg whites or casein (milk based). As we find out how all our wines are made each year, we pass this information on via the 'V' and 'VG' symbols. Vegan wine (VG) is often unfined, left to clear naturally by gravity or with a product like 'Bentonite' which is an inert clay.
There's no doubt that prices for what you get in terms of quality are often 'great value'. Organic is never going to be 'bargain basement' prices, what you pay is real and fair, if not we would not have lasted in business over 30 years, with so many long standing happy customers! A 2016 study by University of California looked at reviews of over 74,000 wines and found that on average, organic wines were rated higher, and cost less. (source: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5fg7d7th )