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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Roagna Langhe Blanco 2012

Rogana Langhe Blanco

The Roagna family has been growing grapes organically and making wines traditionally in the Piedmont region of Italy for four generations. The family’s principle holdings are in Barbaresco (6½ hectares), but in 1989 they expanded into Barolo. The wines are known for their classic style. Never filtered or fined, they’re made with minimal amounts of sulfur and are aged from three to five years in large, old Slavonian oak. The Roagna’s have been known to bottle and then hold back the wines for a couple of more years before release. What they end up with is complex, well structured and made to age for a very long time.

All that being said about their spectacular reds, they also make one white that I completely forgot about until recently, when I was having lunch at Locanda Verde in Tribeca with some friends and saw it on the wine list. It was a hot day and the wine called to me. One of my hosts only drinks white wines, with the exception of Chardonnay, which she finds repulsive and undrinkable. I thought I was safe ordering the Roagna, thinking that it was probably Arneis or Cortese.

When the wine came and I was given the chance to sample before pouring, something wasn’t quite right. Don’t get me wrong, the wine was fantastic, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It tasted eerily like a wine from the Macon or even a Meursault, and that meant Chardonnay. Too late. The bottle was open, everyone was ready to drink and celebrate (her kids had just graduated from high school), so I gave the go ahead to pour away.

Now, I have tried to slip a great Chardonnay past her many times, and I have always failed. She’d take one sip, wrinkle her nose, smack her lips in a disgusted way and ask for something else. Maybe it was the spirit of the celebration, or just the fact that this is a beautifully made white (90% Chardonnay/10% Nebbiolo), but there was a huge smile on everyone’s face at the first sip that lasted all the way through the second bottle.

The Roagna Langhe Blanco is medium-full bodied, crisp and minerally, with the taste of hazelnuts, pear and honey. It’s fermented in old oak casks and is then aged for 1 ½ years longer in a large oak cask. The 2012 is just out, and it’s priced at retail at $20. You have to buy one for that friend of yours who hates all Chardonnays.

P. S. I may never tell my friend what she loved so much that afternoon.


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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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