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Tuesday 8 September 2020

The lowdown: All you need to know about Certified Organic Wine

September is Organic Awareness Month, but what exactly does "organic" mean on a wine label. 

Tony Ingle, chief winemaker for leading organic producers Angove, took time out to explain exactly what wine drinkers are getting. 

And that's timely as Australia’s peak organic certifying body, Australian Certified Organic (ACO) has revealed that sales of certified organic products have increased by 50% since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Australia’s leading certified organic wine brand, Angove Organic, is at the helm of the movement, with 35% increase in sales compared to 2019. 

Angove has also introduced Naturalis, a new certified organic wine range made exclusively for the independent and on-premise trade.

“Due to the heightened focus on maintaining optimal health in the face of the pandemic, we have seen a continued increase in conversion and resulting growth in our Angove Organic wines, as seen across the organic industry, in sales at this time” says Sophie Angove, viticulturist and fifth-generation family member at Angove Family Winemakers.

“Across the globe, consumers, particularly millennials, are living more sustainably, and have been increasingly focused on consuming products with minimal intervention, chemical free and good for the planet”, she said.

This year marks the 14th anniversary of Angove Family Winemakers farming and making wine under organic certification with 100% of our vineyards certified organic. 

Ingle (right), a former merchant banker who changed careers to follow his passion, says: “Ask our teams in the vineyards, many of whom have worked for years with pesticides and chemical fertilisers, donning masks, gloves and protective gear – they will tell you, that not only is the wine better-tasting and gentler on the palate, but working in chemical-free vineyards makes for a completely different work experience."

Here is what Ingle has to say:

What is Certified Organic Wine?
Certified Organic Wine has been made without any chemicals or synthetic inputs. This means no synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. At no stage during the grape growing or wine-making processes are non-organic inputs used.

Is there any difference between Certified Organic Wine and natural wine?
Many people assume that “natural” wine is the same thing as Certified Organic Wine, but they’re actually quite different. The Certified Organic winemaking process has to follow strict rules with accreditation only achieved after a rigorous three-year assessment. Natural wine, on the other hand, doesn’t have to follow any rules, protocols, guidelines or certifications. The Certified Organic Wine label reassures consumers and gives you peace of mind as to the authenticity and purity of the product you are buying.

What does Certified Organic Wine taste like?
We have found a greater depth of flavour in grapes from our organically certified vineyards in comparison to grapes from conventional wineries. This, in turn, results in wines with deeper flavours. It is only natural, when the winemaking process is 100% organic, that the vine is healthier and the grapes have a richer flavour.

How does the Certified Organic winemaking process contribute towards environmental sustainability?
At Angove Family Winemakers, we strive to be a world leader in sustainable practices that encourage biodiversity, reduce landfill and greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the natural ecosystem. As no chemicals or synthetic inputs are used in the organic wine-making process the vines themselves are stronger and more resilient. Organic vines need less water supplied to them because the soil is built up with more compost and organic matter, which in turn holds the water far better - increasing the vines’ likelihood of doing better in drought conditions. No chemical residue is left on the plants or in the surrounding soil and groundwater. This reduces chemical runoff into drinking water and coastal areas which would otherwise impact marine life, wildlife and plants.

Are Certified Organic Wines vegan?
Although wine is made from grapes, many conventional wines on the market are not vegan. Conventional wines often use animal-derived fining-agents to remove protein and yeast. These fining agents include milk, egg whites and isinglass-made from the float bladder of the sturgeon fish. Our range of Certified Organic Wines do not use any animal-based fining products. 

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