Organic and Preservative Free Wines
In Australia, the organic wine industry is well established, and wines produced organically are heading toward unprecedented heights as consumers increasingly turn to wines that reflect their raised consciousnesses – drinking more sustainable, organic, and preservative-free wines from winemakers who have embraced these values in their winemaking philosophies.
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This heightened emphasis on ingredients, authenticity, self-care and the environment are increasingly shaping consumer purchasing behaviours, as are general concerns about wellness and additives in our food. For wine producers, this is a crucial driver behind the growth of the organic and low-intervention wine movement.
To see our TOP DROPS (below), or grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic() farming, and like organic foods, is produced without the use of artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to tackle pests and disease in the vineyard.
Wines labelled preservative-free means the winemaker has not added any preservatives during the winemaking process. Having said that, a small amount of sulphur dioxide is released naturally by the grapes during fermentation (nature's preservative) – so all wine contains trace amounts of naturally produced preservative.
Here in the Hunter Valley, Tamburlaine Organic Wines is one of the most recognised organic wine producers in the region. Others include Krinklewood Estate, Macquariedale and Oakvale – and together they have a deep commitment to the environment and a passion for making wines that capture the unique flavours of the Hunter Valley and are reflective of the local terroir.
With more than 300 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Orange, Tamburlaine is a pioneer in the region and renowned for its delicious, award-winning wines. That range includes Hunter Shiraz, Semillon, Chambourcin and Verdelho, to name a few.
All preservative-free and vegan-friendly too.
Since the integration of biodynamic methods into the organic management of their vineyards in the 1990s, co-owners Mark and Lou Davidson have seen a noticeable difference in the health of their vineyards and the quality of the fruit.
Mark sees organics as "the embodiment of terroir in its sustainability and connection to the soil."
As a result, Tamburlaine has committed to using naturally derived products in the vineyard and winery, composting winery waste (grape stems etc.) which they spread on the vineyards to increase organic matter, reducing energy use thanks to solar panels on the warehouse roof, as well as recycling water.
Today, the 55-year-old winery has an enviable reputation in the Australian market with one of the largest wine clubs in Australia. It is recognised as one of the largest certified organic wineries in the Southern Hemisphere – based on 100 per cent organic and biodynamic farming and turning out more than 80,000 cases a year.
From relatively slow beginnings, preservative-free wines are growing in number and popularity, and an increasing number of Hunter Valley wineries are turning to producing preservative-free and vegan-friendly wines to meet market demand. These include Becker Wines, Oakvale Wines, Tyrrells, De Bortoli, Briar Ridge, Pepper Tree Wines, and Hungerford Hill.
Established in 1967, Hungerford Hill has a long-standing reputation for producing wines of character and interest that focus on the Hunter Valley and NSW's cool-climate regions, including Hilltops and Tumbarumba.
Guided by Bryan Currie, a highly accomplished and award-winning winemaker, Hungerford Hill now also include a range of vegan and preservative-free wines at the cellar door, including the 2017 Tumbarumba Chardonnay and 2018 Hunter Valley Semillon.
"These wines have zero sulphites added and are natural expressions of fruit from our Hunter Valley vineyards without animal products or any other additives," says winemaker Bryan Currie.
"In reality, they are natural wines with the exception that they have been filtered, so they are clear, bright and fruit-driven."
"The goal in producing preservative-free wines is to keep intervention to a minimum, and because of the minimal intervention approach, we find our preservative-free wines tell a pure story of the fruit and vineyard. They are easy-drinking and packed with flavours," says Bryan.
"For me, it's more than just making wines for people who prefer to avoid preservatives – it's also about producing wines with different flavours and aromas – wines that have character and are interesting in their own right."