Are Organic wines good for you?

Chances are that if you pour yourself a glass of organic white or red 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 is the contribution low chemical products make to our health and the health of the environment.

But can we really prove that Organic wine is better for us than the standard bottled or bag in the box variety?

While every Australian grapegrower 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 developmental delays in children.

So, why take the risk?

At Angove we are committed to Organic viticulture and winemaking with just over 500 hectares managed Organically. This will make us one of the largest organic winemakers in Australia.

This certification process provides you with an absolute assurance that weeds were controlled without herbicides (using native pasture grasses, tillage, slashing or sheep grazing), that fungal diseases were controlled using natural products, and that pests were managed by encouraging natural predators.

Many of our customers say they can taste the difference and we think there is a definite freshness and vibrancy to our organic wines.

The one big difference between organic and non-organic wines is the level of sulphur: organic wines must be no more than 150ppm, much less than the standard non-organic wine which could have up to 300ppm. In fact at Angoves all of our organic wines are less than 100ppm.

Sulphur (or sulfites) are a naturally occurring by-product of the fermentation process so there will always be a low level in the 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 – and you can be safe in the knowledge that you have made a small but significant contribution to the Australian environment.