Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine



Just because you make organic wine doesn’t mean you can export organic wine. Just ask The Wine Kat:

In the States, we can’t say we’re organic. We use PMS (nothing to do with moods at certain phases of the moon) to add sulphur in the winery and that is forbidden under US organic regulations. We can however, as of this year, say that the wine is made using organically-grown grapes and we have to get a COLA (not coca) to approve each and every label we export into the States – this all has to be overseen by our importers, for whom I am sure it is a logistical pain in the neck.

In Europe, we can say that we are “organic wine” (it has to be written exactly thus) and we can give our biogro certification. However, if we do so, we not only have to courier original copies of all certifying paperwork for each shipment (no electronic copies here, because fraudulently claiming to be organic would be the end of the world, right?), but our importers also have to apply for and pay for a special license to be allowed to import and sell organic wine. It can be a real hindrance to sales to smaller importers who baulk at the costs and general-faffing involved.

This is a good example of what we’ve written about before – the costs and time burdens are put on the winemakers who are just doing things the way they’ve been done for centuries. Mostly, they just want to claim what they are ‘not’ doing – modern winemaking techniques that have changed the definition of ‘wine.’ It should be the other way around. The Wine Kat addresses this as well:

Yet, if you decide to Roundup (other herbicides are available) everything to within an inch of its existence, spray your vines with Karate (all-destroying-insecticide) at the first sign of anything with wings approaching, do you have to apply for and pay for any additional sort of export licenses? Not that I’m aware of. I guess because you don’t put it on the label!

According to her twitter page (@winekat) works at Seresin in New Zealand – which is a fantastic place to visit – and her her views are her own, not her employers’.


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Congratulations to Rouge Tomate for being awarded three stars and a World’s Best Wine List Jury Prize from The World of Fine Wine.

What impressed McCoy, and her fellow World’s Best Wine Lists senior judges, was not simply the depth of the selection of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, and the way it opens up new possibilities for drinkers, but that it pulls off this trick without being didactic. It’s an approach that fits snugly with the restaurant’s culinary philosophy: Flavor first.

Also winning three stars, and another Jury Prize, is Press, a restaurant in Napa, where former Organic Wine Journal contributor Kelli White is the sommelier.


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Or at least it seems that way. A title like “Why ‘Natural’ Wine Tastes Worse Than Putrid Cider” just doesn’t seem positive. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

What natural wine devotees think is pure, clean and authentic can taste for others like putrid apple cider or just as bad – -characterless, bland and acidic.

No, that’s definitely bad. I would like to point out that according to the author’s own writing, this merely equates Natural Wines with putrid apple cider – it does not say how it is worse, as stated in the title. Is he going by price, bottle variation or whether the labels are prettier? He doesn’t say.

To back up his claim, author Bruce Palling speaks with a whopping total of one wine broker and cites one bad experience at a restaurant he had. He also states the natural wine movement didn’t take off until Noma started serving them.

For a rational response, please read what Alice Feiring has to say.


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From winecompanion.com.au:

The 2012 Pig in the House Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) from NSW’s Cowra wine region has been named the 2014 NASAA Certified Organic Wine of the Year.

The inaugural NASAA Certified Organic Wine of the Year Awards attracted around 100 entries from across Australia. The Awards were open to Australian wines that have organic certification from an approved body such as the NASAA.

“This is the first organic wine tasting only open to wines grown and produced in Australia and certified by a Department of Agriculture Accredited Certification Body, such as NASSA Certified Organic.” explained the Awards organiser, NASAA’s Ben Copeman.


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Guinness McFadden

Guinness McFadden on the California Capitol Steps

Guinness McFadden of McFadden Vineyard was recognized by a joint resolution by the California State Assembly and Senate, celebrating his organic and eco-friendly farming in Mendocino for over forty years. McFadden had traveled to Sacramento on June 24th to receive an award for his sparkling wine, and was surprised by CA Assemblyman Wes Chesbro with the proclamation, that was co-sponsored by State Senator Noreen Evans.

Our congratulations to Guiness McFadden and the team at McFadden Vineyards and McFadden Farms.


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Watch here.


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There’s no solution for this, chemical or organic.

Hailstones as big as golf balls, buffeted by 60mph winds, swept across the Côte de Beaune region on Saturday afternoon, causing winegrowers to predict between 40% and 80% of the grape harvest would be lost.

Read full story at The Guardian.


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RAW, one of the world’s most avant-garde artisan wine fairs is, this weekend, hitting the Austrian capital. Join us for our last big fair of 2014 to celebrate the world of unprocessed, authentic wine production, and don’t forget to buy your tickets online (or, if you are press, register yourself for free), as it is not only cheaper but spaces are extremely limited.

As our nippy litte van sets off on its busy little way across Europe, carrying with it spittoons, ice buckets and the 1000 unplanned for extra copies of the Vienna catalogue, which we pulled-off last minute when the much prettier, collectable version vanished into thin air (yes, the impossible was made real when the transporter managed to loose an entire pallet because, and I quote them, “well, we just don’t know where we put it”), the busy little bees that are team RAW are now spreading their wings for some wine waltzing in a Viennese palace, complete with its own ‘Marble Hall’, ‘Imperial Salon’ and ‘Great Ballroom’. Not only conveniently located right next door to the prancing ponies of the Spanish Riding School, RAW Vienna is also 5-minutes walk from VieVinum, Austria’s enormous bi-annual wine extravaganza. So, if you happen to be in town for that, be sure to stop by and pay us a visit. Here are a few of the highlights that await:

A kaleidoscope of hundreds of wines to taste from 85 of the world’s most exciting natural, biodynamic and organic growers. Originating from 13 different countries, RAW Vienna will host producers from classic regions like Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, alongside New World wonders from Australia and Argentina, as well as exciting novelties from the likes of Georgia, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and even Poland! It is also a chance to explore a huge diversity of growers from central European nations including Switzerland, Germany and, of course, Austria – many of whom have ‘gone RAW’ for the first time.
Artisan, ‘pure fermented rice’ brews from Japan – a regular favourite in London – are also joining in Vienna, so come along to explore the fascinating world of properly crafted sake.
Food and refreshments provided by some of Vienna’s most sought after foodies, including bread from the Joseph bakery, coffee by Grandoro, sushi by Mochi, delicious raw milk cheese by a special Austrian artisan, and a surprise offering by the michelin-starred Taubenkobel…
We have also managed to get hold of a few extra advance copies of Isabelle’s forthcoming book (out in July) – Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally – to take with us to the fair. So if you missed out in London where copies disappeared like hot cakes, here’s your chance again.

Last and certainly not least, is the wonderful news that GABRIEL-GLAS have generously provided us with mouthblown glasses for all our visitors to use. It may also surprise you to know that these ultra thin, ultra light, angular beauties, share a sort of familial link with another ultra thin, ultra light Austrian glassware brand… Take a look at our Vienna blog to find out more.

Finally, inspired by our much beloved BBC Radio 4, we have decided to leave you with our very own Thought for the Day (see below) – a quote from the start of the chapter on ‘Living Soils’ in Isabelle’s book, together with a graffiti on a wall round the corner from our office.

Happy weekend and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Team RAW.

RAW Vienna – Practical Info

Opening Times: 10 am to 7 pm

Palais Pallavicini
Josefsplatz 5
1010 Vienna


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