7 myths about organic wine: Masterclass with Cellarmasters

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Last week i had the pleasure of attending a wine masterclass with the lovely folk at Cellar Masters who gave insight into the changing drinking trends with ever growing popularity of organic wines which their customers are demanding more of.   To put that into perspective sales in this wine category have quadrupled for them this past year.

“A couple of years ago we would only have a handful of wines from organic producers, but they weren’t marketed as being ‘organic’ as there was very little interest at the time,” explained Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director for wine retailer Cellarmasters.  “Many experts also believe organic wine tastes more vibrant than conventional wine, so there are many reasons to try organic wine if you haven’t already,” she added.

But no, organic wine does not give you fewer hangovers; here, Christine debunks the most common myths about organic wine.

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Myth: Organic wine doesn’t give you hangovers

Although organic wine tends to have less sulphites than conventional wine, it can still give you a hangover. Hangovers are caused by the alcohol content, although histamines and tannins in wine can contribute to a sore head the next day. If you want to avoid hangovers all together, moderation is key no matter what wine you’re drinking.

Myth: Organic wine doesn’t taste as good as normal wine

Organic wine hasn’t always had a great reputation when it comes to taste. However, these days most green wines tend to be great drops and many wine lovers praise their purity of flavour. In fact, a study from 2016 by University of California concluded that organic wine tastes better than conventional wine after looking at expert reviews of more than 74,000 wines. Furthermore, many of the best wineries in the world like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – which makes some of the most expensive wines in the world – are organic.

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Myth: Organic wine is more expensive

Although organic wine might have been more expensive five or ten years ago, this is not the case anymore. As organic wine has become more accessible, so have the prices. You can often get a bottle of
organic wine for the same price as conventional wine. At Cellarmasters, you can grab a great bottle of organic wine from about $15 per bottle.

Myth: Organic wine is vegan

Did you think all organic wine is vegan? Think again. Most wines are non-vegan because winemakers add fining agents to counteract cloudiness in the wine, and the most common fining agents are casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatine and isinglass (fish protein). Due to the increase in demand of vegan wines, many wines are now labelled “vegan friendly” if they have used vegan fining agents, such as clay (bentonite), limestone or silica gel.

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Myth: Organic wine is a new trend

Although it might seem like a recent innovation, organic wine is nothing new. In fact, prior to 1847, all wine would have been organic because farming chemicals were not available then. Some of the greatest wine brands in the world are and have been organic and biodynamic for decades, like the aforementioned Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

Myth: Organic wine is completely preservative-free

Sulphur is permitted in Organic wines and sulphur is a natural by-product of the winemaking process. If you are sensitive to sulphur dioxide, look for wines that are labelled ‘free of or no added preservatives’ but know that winemakers use minimal amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2). Also, some preservatives can be added to organic wine to prolong the wine’s longevity.

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Myth: Organic wine is easy to make

There are strict rules and regulations around making organic wine. To ensure there are no traces of preservatives or pesticides, a winery has to have used organic farming methods for at least three years before the wine can be labelled organic. So it’s no easy and fast feat! Organic wines have to be made from grapes grown without artificial and chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, with a focus on maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Organic farming is also mindful of the environment and minimising any impact on the land. There are a number of different certification bodies including Australian Certified Organic, NASAA Organic, Certified BioGro Organic—look for the logo on the bottle to confirm the wine is Certified Organic.

Cellarmasters Organic Wine Reservation delivers six hand-selected wines to your doorstep four times a year for only $120 per delivery.  

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