The Liquor Cabinet

Organic Wines – The Only Explainer You Need

Organic wine is growing in popularity, but how does it differ from natural wine and biodynamic wine? Here, we explain the growing world of organic wine.

Organic wines

There are so many wine buzzwords at the moment — organic, natural, vegan, biodynamic — that are all applied to fermented grape juice. But they’re not all the same thing and to make things more confusing, the terms can describe overlapping ideologies. Here’s everything you really need to know about organic wine.

What makes wine organic?

The legal definition of organic wine differs from country to country, but essentially, organic wine is wine that’s been made using grapes grown according to organic farming principles. This means they’re grown without artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, which in turn results in healthier soil and vines.


Growers using organic farming employ other measures such as natural pest repellents and “cover crops” that attract bugs known to fend off vine-eating critters. Some growers use animals too, such as grazing sheep and ducks, to control weeds and snails among the vines.


According to Tony Ingle, Chief Winemaker of organic winery Angove Family Winemakers, when it comes to organic wines, “Farmers and winemakers must work with nature, rather than against it, and play a delicate balancing act to boost their vineyard’s biodiversity.”


Here in Australia, for a wine to be labelled organic, it must be certified by an organic certifying organisation. These organisations conduct regular checks on vineyards to ensure they’re sticking to sustainable organic principles, their crops are 100 per cent GM-free and they use few to no preservatives.


“In Australia, companies can have as little as 2 per cent organic ingredients to label themselves as such,” says Tony. “To trust that the products you are buying are truly organic, you need to look for ‘Certified Organic’ labelling.”



Check the bottle for a logo from ACO (Australian Certified Organic) or NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia) to ensure it’s the real deal, like this Paxton’s Vale Organic Shiraz, which is also biodynamic.

Is natural wine the same as organic wine?

No, not all organic wine is natural, and not all natural wine is organic.


Natural wines lean into the idea of letting the natural environment do its thing with minimal intervention, which is continued during the winemaking process. Natural wines have effectively zero intervention from the winemaker – this means any kind of filtering or fining is avoided and only natural wild yeasts are used in fermentation.



Often, an organic wine might also be labelled natural or preservative-free. An organic wine could also be biodynamic, which means the grapes are farmed according to holistic farming principles.


And when a wine is labelled vegan, it means there’s no use of animal product such as animal enzymes or egg white used to clarify or filter harsh tannins. Good examples include this


Sicily’s Love Not War Organic Fiano and Angove Organic Sauvignon Blanc.

Does organic wine taste different from non-organic wine?

Organic wines may offer a flavour that’s truer to the natural character of the grape. The lack of chemicals also means the wines can be more pure in flavour, without any chemical residue. Think about how organic meat, eggs or vegies can be more flavourful and delicious and you’ll get the idea. This Tamburlaine Petit Fleur Rosé is a great example in which you get to taste the full effect of its delicious juicy grenache grapes.

What’s so great about organic wine?

For vineyards, sticking to organic principles creates healthier soil and precludes the need for synthetic chemicals by working with nature rather than against it. By boosting a vineyard’s natural biodiversity, it becomes a self-regulating ecosystem.

“There’s also a lot that you can do with today’s technology,” Tony says. “For example, drones, robots, aerial imaging from space, measuring how much nutrition is in the soil — all of these things can work hand in hand with organic farming because they allow the farmer to have a sophisticated appraisal of what the plants need. 

“So, when we talk about going back to traditional farming, it’s also about leveraging the power of technology that enables us to produce a purer product.”

And the benefit is passed on to drinkers, too: organic wines contain half the amount of sulphur dioxide – the most common preservative in wine, often associated with wine hangovers – compared to regular wines.

Plus of course, by choosing organic, you know you are being kinder to the planet.

Try the wines from Jacob’s Creek Nature’s Craft range to see difference for yourself.

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