Wine can be a scary subject. That’s why we’ve put together a FREE mini guide to help you navigate our wine aisles and choose the perfect organic vino for your occasion.
Beginner’s Guide to Organic Wine
Organic is very important to us at Better Food. So much so that that it’s been one of our guiding principles from the start: we always look to source goods that are organic or local (ideally both!). For us, organic means a better balance with nature and better care of our land, soil and wildlife. We think this care and attention often translates to a better tasting product.
When it comes to wine, while there are loads of fantastic (and up-and-coming) wineries within our shoreline, we know that many of our customers also want to explore the world when they enjoy a tipple. As we can’t source all our wines locally, we made a promise to ourselves that every wine that we sell would be organic.
Here are three massive reasons to choose organic when you buy wine:
Better For Nature
While wine is often viewed romantically (rolling hills and hand-tended vines), the reality for most mainstream wines is very different. This is commercial agriculture, with processes just like farming other crops, so the use of herbicides and pesticides is widespread. Organic regulations do not allow the use of herbicides or synthetic pesticides, and limit natural pesticides to a list of just 20.
This means that the natural balance is better maintained in organic vineyards, and with a wider range of plant life and controlled pesticide use, there is on average 50% more wildlife on organic farms. Organic principles advocate companion planting in vineyards to encourage pollinators – a nice thought when you’re drinking your organic Verdejo! We know of gorgeous organic vineyards with roses planted at the ends of the rows of vines. Some growers use these to give an early warning when pests such as aphids attack.
Sulphur Dioxide (sulphites) is added to most wines as a method of preservation and to kill any unwanted yeasts and bacteria. Small amounts of this compound occur naturally; however, it is added to the vast majority of commercial wines. While sulphites are an important component of making sure that the wine we drink tastes as good as when it was produced, we think you can have too much of a good thing. Many people feel that sulphites are the cause of allergic reactions or intolerances to wine. Organic regulations strictly limit the amount of sulphites that can be added to a wine. Whilst fewer sulphites can’t do any harm in minimising hangovers, organic wines don’t necessarily contain any less alcohol, so please do always drink responsibly!
Better For Producers
Have you ever stopped to think about where your money goes when you buy a bottle of wine? The average bottle of wine sold in the UK hovers around £6. Just over half of this amount (£3.23) will simply pay duty and VAT. Then what about all the other costs…packaging, transport… how much is actually left for the product and the person who grew the grapes?
Not a lot is the answer. Due to the positive benefits we discuss above, organic wines demand a higher premium for a higher quality product; in fact, people spend around 40% more to get an organic wine. Since many of the costs in wine are ‘fixed’ (duty, packaging, transport) this leaves more money left over for the real reason we buy a bottle – the wine inside it! More of the money spent on an organic bottle goes towards getting better quality juice, and more of this makes it down the chain to the producer.