Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine



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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Winemaker Olivier Cousin

Winemaker Olivier Cousin

The trial of winemaker Olivier Cousin finally has a verdict – he must pay 1 Euro for using the word “Anjou” on his wine. More to follow, but for more information (in French) see this story.

And if you want to help Olivier with his legal costs – buy a t-shirt.


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A handcrafted corn vodka from the heartland. They use their leftover corn cobs to produce energy, but is the vodka worth the effort? Watch Tony’s review and find out.


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Umani Ronchi

Umani Ronchi is one of the most famous producers in Le Marche and in Abruzzo. The winery has been in the Bianchi-Bernetti family for almost fifty years. Gino Umani Ronchi established the winery at Cupramontana in 1957 in the heart of the production area of Verdicchio Classico. Roberto Bianchi and his son-in-law, Massimo Bernetti, joined the company a few years later.

Michele Bernetti began working with his father, Massimo and his uncle, Stefano in his teens, but officially joined the winery after University and a stint in London working for their importer. He is currently the CEO and the third generation of his family to run Umani Ronchi. I caught up with Michele during the recent edition of OperaWine, a tasting of the top 100 Italian wines organized by the Wine Spectator and Vinitaly/Veronafiere.

Umani Ronchi is very active in two areas in Le Marche that produce beautiful wines – Castelli di Jesi and Rosso Conero, where Verdicchio and Montepulciano grow, respectively. They also own an estate in Abruzzo in the Colline Teramane DOCG area. Umani Ronchi sees it mission is to promote the wines of these two regions. The winery promotes quality wines from both its indigenous and international varieties and has more than 200 hectares under vine.

Montepulciano, the grape variety, is not to be confused with Montepulciano the town in Tuscany, or their wines Vino Nobile di Montepulciano made with Sangiovese grapes. The grape variety Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a late ripening one that is widely grown in Abruzzo. The Umani Ronchi family makes a wine called Montipagano from 100% organically grown Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes.

The grapes are planted on soil with a good mix of sand, clay, and stones. The vineyard has a Southwest exposure and it is located at about 200 meters above sea level. The plant density in the vineyard runs from 1600 plants per hectare to 5000 plants per hectare.

Montipagano, is the name of the village where the estate is located. The Umani Ronchi family chose this particular area because they felt that the grapes from here where a great combination of elegance and structure. They bought their winery in 2001. Montipagano is a round and fruity wine as you would expect from Montepulciano with its soft plushy tannins. These wines tend to be drunk young and are sold at a great price/quality ratio.

Speaking with Michele, he said that the winery firmly believes in organic farming and certification. They are moving towards getting more of their vineyards certified, but it all takes a long time. We also discussed which certification entity they would use. Michele said that they tend to use local certifying bodies, because it is easier for them to come and check on the vines and the progress being made in the winery.

The fact that such a large and important winery such as Umani Ronchi has converted at least one of their properties to organic farming is a sign of just how far Italian wineries are moving towards natural wines. Some years ago it was quite hard to find organically grown vineyards in Italy and even harder to find organically produced wines.

This year’s fair in Verona, Vinitaly, had two separate sections devoted to organically produced wines, a first in Italy but likely something we will see more of in the years to come.

www.umanironchi.com


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