For me, one of the most exciting and disruptive trends in the drinks world over the last decade has been the increasing popularity of natural wines – wines made with minimal intervention and little-to-no additions: wild fermented, unfiltered, sometimes cloudy, often funky.
A lot of people assume that natural wines are made from organically-grown grapes. Many are – but not all. The term “natural” is neither officially defined nor regulated, so there’s nothing stopping winemakers using conventionally-grown grapes and calling their wine natural just because they didn’t add anything in the winery.
It’s a similar issue with “preservative-free” and “vegan-friendly”. Some consumers associate these terms with organic, but they’re not interchangeable: yes, quite a few organic and biodynamic winemakers do bottle their wine with no added preservatives and avoid using animal-derived processing aids such as egg whites (a traditional clarifying agent), but there are also plenty of wines out there made from conventionally-grown grapes that are free of preservatives or animal products – just as there are plenty of organic wines clarified with egg-whites and bottled with some preservatives.
So, here’s the thing: if it’s important to you that what you drink is organically grown – like the food you eat – look for wines and beers, ciders and spirits from producers who are certified organic or biodynamic.
To see what else is in the magazine, and read the rest of Max Allen's feature on the growing array of local organic drinks that are now available, get a copy of the November/December 2019 issue of Organic Gardener Magazine.
By: Max Allen
First published: November 2019