Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

By Natalie MacLean Earth Hour has passed, and Earth Day is almost upon us. Naturally, you might think about pouring yourself a glass of organic wine on April 22. But what is organic wine and how is it different from “inorganic wine”? Back in the 1970s, the concept of “organic wine” conjured up images of pony-tailed vintners in tie-dyed T-shirts, producing wines more for ideology than taste. Thankfully, those days are just a watery memory now. Today, organic wines are no longer just for health nuts and tree-huggers. Wine lovers drink them for their quality. They’ve gone mainstream and represent […]

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Organic Wine v Biodynamic Wine v Sustainable Farming: Differences?

By Natalie MacLean Why farm organically? Many winemakers consider the approach as part of their overall commitment to quality. Organic farming requires a much deeper understanding of the vineyard and a greater vigilance over it. Problems must be detected early because organic fixes take longer. Another benefit is the social responsibility for winery workers’ health and not exposing them to toxic chemicals. What are the environmental benefits? Many wineries have locked horns with environmentalists and local residents over the issue of deforesting the land in order to plant vineyards. Hillsides are a flash point. Winemakers know that vineyards on slopes […]

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Is Organic Wine Healthier for You?

By Natalie MacLean Are organic wines really better for you? The good news about even non-organic wine grapes is that far fewer chemicals are used on them than other on other fruit. Consumers want strawberries and pears to look good on the fruit stands, so they ignore the chemicals that keep them that way event to the detriment of taste and health. However, the appearance of wine grapes is irrelevant, since they’re going to be crushed. As a result, they’re grown specifically to optimize their taste. Still, there are 17 chemicals commonly used in vineyards today and grapes aren’t washed […]

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Biodynamic v Organic Winemaking – Southbrook’s Ann Sperling Video

In this video below with Southbrook Vineyards’ winemaker Ann Sperling, we chat about biodynamic and organic winemaking. (What’s with burying cow’s horns, witchcraft and astrology?) Also: – can you taste the difference in the wine? – why take this approach and is it difficult and expensive to do in a cool climate like Ontario? Click on the arrow to play the video: Here are my Top 20 Organic Wines for Earth Day April 22, and year round. When Ann Sperling was a child, she had a miniature version of every farm tool—a child-sized hoe, shovel and so on so that […]

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Is Wine Gluten Free? Raise a Glass to Celiac Awareness Month!

Is wine gluten-free? Yes, for the most part. Wine is made from grapes, not grains. That’s good news for celiacs, those suffering from a digestive disease that makes them intolerant to gluten. May is Celiac Awareness Month so I thought it would be worth addressing this issue, especially since I’m asked about it occasionally. The boom in gluten-free foods makes me wonder why there hasn’t been wine labeled to that extent, though that is akin to labeling fresh fruit as trans-fat free. I’ve read The Wheat Belly and have followed various experts on this matter, not because I am intolerant […]

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Sulfites in Wine: A Debate to Cause a Headache?

By Natalie MacLean What’s the big deal about sulfites in wine? Most wine labels bear the warning “contains sulfites” (or sulphites, the Canadian and British spelling), which can alarm consumers into thinking that the substance is harmful or unhealthy. In fact, sulfites, the salts of sulfurous acid or sulfur dioxide (SO2), are just a common food preservative that prevents the wine from oxidizing after fermentation (it turns brown and the fruit aromas go stale) or spoiling from bacteria once bottled. Traditionally, in Europe no warning label was required if there was less than 100 parts per million of sulfites added, […]

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