A Few Things You Might Not Know
On our last blog, we explained exactly what sustainable and organic wines are and why it matters. This week we are delving further into a few more things you might not know which are key to what we do here at Sustainable Wines UK.
What a Biodynamic wine is
Last week we covered the differences between Sustainable and Organic wines – but how about biodynamic? Biodynamic wines are grown according to the principles laid out in a 1924 series of lectures by Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner. Steiner’s lectures centred on the concept of the self-contained farm – one where farm produce and organic waste was not only recycled, but actually contributed to the vitality and health of the soil itself. Biodynamic vineyards do not use chemical substances on their vines, instead they use homeopathic preparations from the naturally-occurring plant and animal materials you would find on a farm or vineyard anyway. The focus is on revitalising and optimising soil biology, which is not only good for the land, it is also good for the wine! Specialists say that biodynamic wine often has more texture, a greater purity and a greater length of palate presence so not only are you buying wine that is better for the earth, you are often buying wine that is better in general.
Some wines you have to take at their word
Both “biodynamic” and “organic” wines technically fit under the larger umbrella of “natural” wines – wines that have been made without manipulation or intervention, closer to the way wine was made originally. Natural winemakers use no additional yeasts, do not rectify sugar levels or acidity and do not remove any excess dilution in a wet vintage. In short this is wine which comes as close as possible to what nature intended. Unfortunately, there currently exists no system of accreditation for natural wines, and to have your wines certified “organic” or “biodynamic” can be expensive, so you are expected to take it on trust that wines labelled “Natural” have been made in this way. Thankfully for you, we have already done extensive research into every product we stock, so you can be sure you are buying the real deal.
New Zealand has a new wine region
Generally, when people talk about New Zealand wine, they are referring to wine made in one of the ten major growing regions – such as Marlborough, Auckland, Hawkes Bay or Waipara. Here at Sustainable Wines, however, we stock wines from a pioneering vineyard in New Zealand’s newest wine region, Ohau. Set on the North Island, about 90 minutes north of Wellington, Ohau is the only commercial vineyard on the west coast of NZ and, as such, benefits from the area’s unique microclimate and cool temperatures. Originally discovered by viticulturist Kate Gibbs, it turns out that the river terrace gravel soils in the area are similar to those of the better Marlborough sites. These, combined with the climate, contribute to the highly aromatic wines being produced at Ohau.
Headed up by Jane Cooper, one of New Zealand’s leading female winemakers, the vineyard has been producing award-winning Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris since 2009. We are thrilled to stock both their Woven Stone and their Ohau Gravels brands and, for a limited time only, we are offering them to you for 1/3 off when you use the code OHAU33.
Sustainable Wine has a wine club!
The final thing you might not know is that… Sustainable Wines has a wine club! You would, however, be forgiven for not knowing since it is brand new! In an effort to introduce you to some of our most exciting wines – including biodynamic, natural, and Ohau ones! – we will send each of our members 6 different wines a month to broaden your sustainable wine experience. Each month will include a mix of red, white, Rosé, and sparkling wine, and offers a unique experience to sample and discover some of our exciting producers - not available in the supermarkets and therefore extra special!