A growing desire for healthier and environmentally friendly agricultural practices has seen a growth in alternative farming methods, notably organic and biodynamic farming. This is not isolated to food produce, but also to our beloved wine.
Organic farming is a means of growing produce with minimal impact on the land, and eliminating the use of chemical pesticides.
Biodyamic farming is often referred to as an “advanced method of organic farming”, whereby the focus is on holism and maintaining healthy, nutrient-rich soils and a well-balanced environment to allow produce to thrive.
Em & I was fortunate to visit Macquariedale Organic Wines.
Amazed from the get-go, the lovely winery was surrounded by beautiful scenery, including an abundance of Lavender. We were treated to a very informative and enjoyable wine-tasting by the owner Derice who shared her passion for making beautiful wine grown biodynamically in the Hunter Valley
Organic wines contain no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and are low in preservatives (sulphur).
Biodynamics goes beyond this and sees the soil as an organism in its own right and uses special preparations, applied according to the cosmic rhythms to naturally enhance the soil and thus plant vitality.
This wine-making utilises minimal levels of sulphur by using wild yeast (where possible) and eliminating fining agents.
Although not completely sulphur-free, the low sulphur-content of the Macquariedale Wines have been a favourite among wine-lovers who no longer suffer from the nasty side-effects such as blocked sinuses, allergies and asthma-like symptoms.
- High sulphur wine contains 240ppm sulphur
- Macquariedale Whites contain 80-100ppm sulphur
- Macquariedale Reds contain 60-80ppm sulphur
The Macquariedale vineyards are home to Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Chardonnay and Verdelho.
Our favourite being Emma’s bubbles, a sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, produced from whole bunches pressed and co-fermented. We cannot wait to pop a bottle open for the end of year celebrations.
Does it taste the same?
It depends who you ask… Supporting sustainable methods of farming also supports viticulturists to better understand these practices and ultimately perfect wine-making for a great tasting wine.
Some other places to check out
There are a couple of wineries in the Hunter, where farmers and viticulturists are practising more stainable farming methods and wine making.