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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How to Find the Best Organic Wines: Buying Tips

By Natalie MacLean Who makes organic wine? The number of wineries making organic wines is increasing steadily, with the result that they’re available in a far greater range of styles than ever before. Formerly, they were only the domain of small producers, but now large companies are taking an interest as a way to diversify their offerings and to improve their environmental images. Some of the producers implement some organic principles and not others, some grow organic grapes but don’t make organic wine and still others make both organic and non-organic wines. So check the labels carefully. Why don’t more […]

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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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Wine’s Salad Daze: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine and Vegetables

My partner Miles, an unrepentant carnivore, claims that “salad is what food eats.” I wouldn’t go that far, but my problem with vegetables is that they are among the most challenging foods to match with wine. Here are my favourite wines to pair with vegetables and vegetarian dishes. Finding veggie-friendly wines, however, is important: on the one hand, many of us are now filling our plates with more greenery and less wine-friendly meat dishes; on the other, as the health benefits of wine become better known, more vegetarians are pouring a glass with their meatless meals. We’re all more health […]

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The Wrath of Grapes: Hangover Causes and Cures

Do your eyelids creak when they open? Has your tongue been scrubbed with sandpaper? Is the Little Drummer Boy playing on your cerebral cortex? At this time of year, we make merry in haste and then repent in waste, the next day. Thousands of years ago, man discovered alcohol; the next day he discovered the hangover. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what causes hangovers but not what cures them. Their effects are as immutable as Newton’s law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Of course, the only way to avoid a hangover is not […]

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How Sweet is My Wine? What do Sugar Codes Mean for Wine?

How sweet is your wine? Have you ever wondered what those sugar codes mean on the liquor store shelf? There are several different sweetness charts and coding systems on the market, but they’re not that far apart from each other in describing the residual sugar level in wine. I believe that it’s critical to list the sweetness level of a wine with every review that I write to give more information about each wine to my readers, some of whom look for a bone-dry wine while others have a sweet tooth. Posting the sugar codes are also vital for health […]

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Does Wine Make You Fat? Looking Through a Glass Thinly

My dieting heroine is Bridget Jones from the movie of the same name—not because she was that successful in losing weight, but because she never abandoned her glass of chardonnay (and still managed to snag Colin Firth). For me, dieting is unbearable if I have to give up all the sweets and my wine. (And if I stopped drinking, I’d be out of a job.) The good news is that you can drink wine without getting fat. When it comes to both calories and carbohydrates, moderate wine drinking won’t ruin your diet. Wine has no cholesterol, sodium or fat, and […]

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Can You Drink Wine on a Diet? Are Dry Wines Better Than Sweet?

Continued from Part 1 Wine Calories Alcohol contributes more calories than sugar. For example, a six ounce glass of slightly sweet German riesling, with just 7% alcohol, will still have fewer calories (about 110) than a dry, robust Australian shiraz with 15% at about 175 calories. Over the past five years, the level of alcohol in many wines has been increasing steadily. This is particularly true for wines from warm climates such as Australia, Chile and California. Grapes are being picked later in the season when they’re riper and laden with sugar, and consequently get fermented into higher-alcohol wines. The […]

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