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Organic Wines, Natural Wines & Vegan Wines

What’s all the fuss about? And aren’t they the same thing? Well in a nutshell, yes but also no! Read on to find out more about each and some recommendations where to try these wines in the Hunter.

Organic wines in Australia are made from grapes that have been grown organically, without the use of synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides. They are generally considered to be a more environmentally friendly form of viticulture (grape-growing) and use alternative methods such as employing chicken to eat insects, oils and milk sprays as pesticides/fungicides and natural fertilisers.

Organic wines also have some rules regarding winemaking that sets them apart from normal wines. In particular, sulphur dioxide (SO2) must be less than 50% of that used in conventional wines and this is very attractive to those that may suffer from an intolerance to sulphites (generally exhibited by sneezing, blocked or runny nose and rashes).

Some of the Hunter’s leading organic vineyards include: Oakvale Wines, Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard, Tamburlaine wines, and Ascella Wines.

Natural Wines are wines made using generally organic grapes and minimal interventions during the winemaking process – e.g. whole bunch fermentation, no filtration, fermenting with naturally occurring yeasts (found on the skins) and minimal sulphur dioxide added at the end of the winemaking process. They will have more texture than conventional wines due to the extended skin contact (especially for white wine where grape skins are not in contact with the skins) and the yeast and other sediments not filtered out during winemaking. Natural wines are purported to represent the ‘terroir’ or landscape of the vineyard and are most definitely growing in popularity here and overseas.

Try Natural wines at these Hunter cellar-doors: Harkham Wines,  M&J Becker and selected wines at Carillion Wines, Vinden Wines, Usher Tinkler and Hart and Hunter.

Lastly, vegan wines do not use any animal products as fining products to clear up the ‘cloudiness’ in the wine created by the proteins, tannins and tartrate during the winemaking process. Conventional wines commonly use fish proteins, gelatin, milk-derived proteins or egg whites for this purpose. Instead, winemakers will use alternative agents like activated charcoal, pea or potato proteins or mechanical filtration. Or as with natural wines, they simply leave their wines to ‘self-fine’ or stabilise as best as able.

Our top picks for vegan wines:  M&J Becker wines, Oakvale Wines, Vinden Wines, Glandore Wines, Irongate Wines, Hungerford Hill Wines, and Stomp! Wines