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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Organic Wines Podcast: Better for You or for the Environment?

Organic wines are among the fastest growing segments in the liquor store, but they’re also misunderstood, from how they’re made to their health benefits. This podcast sheds some light on these issues: Listen Your glass wine (or three) isn’t more healthful just because it’s organic. In fact, some organic wines can be more about marketing than about health or the environment. Fermentation, filtering and fining during winemaking eliminates pesticides. As well,”organically grown grapes” on the label refers only to the way the vines are farmed, and not necessarily to the way the wine is then made in the winery because […]

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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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Drinking My Words: Are All Writers Wine Writers?

By Natalie MacLean Candy-coloured bottles of spirits glow against the mirrors behind the bar of the Algonquin Hotel. I’ve come to this New York City landmark on a brisk April evening to think about my journey over the past few years, and the connection between writing and drinking as a way of understanding a place and its people. I often read the work of one of the country’s beloved writers while I’m traveling in a region to sharpen my observations, whether it’s The Leopard by Sicily’s Giuseppe di Lampedusa, the short stories of Argentina’s Jorge Luis Borges or Peter Mayle’s […]

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Wine Writers Behaving Like Critics: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Natalie MacLean They called it a tempest in a wine glass: two of the world’s most respected wine writers facing off against one another over one bottle of wine. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about critics disagreeing, even vehemently. But this time, the debate degenerated into a rumble over the definition of wine itself—and the integrity of the critics. In the American corner was Robert Parker, whose wine scores carry so much weight that they move the market. From Britain, was author Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and columnist for the Financial Times of London. Both have written more […]

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Charles Smith Rocks the Wine Scene with Music and Vino

By Melissa Pulvermacher We all think of pairing food and wine, but have you ever thought of pairing music with wine? Charles Smith, a self-taught winemaker, has brought a new element to the world of wine – soul. Smith is undoubtedly a full-bodied personality with a genuine passion for both music and wine. The only way to truly describe the experience of Charles Smith and his wines is to crank rock music and pour yourself a big glass of red or white… or both and just enjoy. During a 1999 road trip, when Smith was managing rock bands and concerts, […]

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11 Tips for WineSense: No Nonsense Wine Lovers

By Bob Desautels 1. Get to know the best producers/wineries. This is your safest route to consistent quality. 2. Distrust frivolous names and “pretty” pictures on labels.‎ 3. Taste and know wines (and grape varieties) from their traditional home. This becomes your benchmark for all other similar wines made from the same grapes. 4. Experiment with lesser known grape varieties versus always drinking the classic varieties and blends. It makes life more interesting. 5. Drink wine with food – it’s good for digestion and it slows the absorption of alcohol into your system. 6. Buy local wines when possible (when at […]

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