"Where there is no wine, there is no love"- Euripides, Greece. Even back then they knew what's up! Whether it's an occasion to celebrate, a gossip filled night with girlfriends, or that blessed time in your day when you can finally relax - wine truly is a universal love! If I'm being completely honest, I have and probably always will love red wine a little too much. But that's a whole other blog post that I'll write another day. Lately, I've really been enjoying experimenting with organic wines so I wanted to share a little about it.
As a long time lover of red wine, I can't believe its taken me this long to gain an appreciation for actual quality. Two years ago my intention heading into the LCBO was literally, “what’s the most quantity I can get for $20?!”= a.k.a all the cheap magnums! But after one too many dirty wine hangovers, I’ve come to understand and truly appreciate that all wine is most definitely not created equal and sometimes spending a little more on a bottle might actually save you some pain - if not the next day, in the long run for sure.
If you haven't wandered into the world of organic wines yet, you're probably as clueless as I was a few months ago. Here’s the skinny: organic wine is made from organic grapes and produced using organic farming practices; meaning there's no use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetics or fertilizers. This doesn't mean free of sulphites since they occur naturally during the fermentation process. It does mean no added sulphites on top of the naturally occurring ones; making organic a considerably cleaner glass of wine than its non organic counterpart. So if you're already conscious about the quality of food you're putting into your body, why would what you drink be any different? Or perhaps a better way to think about it: If you're going to drink wine (which we all know isn't really good for us), why not drink better quality wine to forgo the added sulphites, pesticides and other toxins and hopefully avoid some of the crappy side effects? If this logic makes sense to you, I highly recommend checking out the organic section at your local wine shop. I’ve found some organic wines can be hit or miss in terms of taste (it seems more so than conventional), so I’ve included a few of my faves here to save you some $$ and some of the legwork.
Once you're feeling like a pro in the organic section, next on the quality wine front is biodynamic. Biodynamic wines match organic standards but take a more holistic approach to grape growing. It's not only about optimal grapes - there's a strong focus on the ecosystem of the vineyard as a whole. The soil, plants, insects and animals that live in and around the grapes, all play their part in the ecosystem and contribute to the biodynamic qualities of the wine. I think of it as the gut microbiome of winemaking, where every good bacteria plays a role and the overall health of the ecosystem depends on the very diversity of it. Southbrook Vineyards and Tawse Winery are two beautiful organic/biodynamic wineries in Niagara, making some very tasty wines!
Natural wines are the newest form of quality wines with a 'back to nature' production process that's just starting to make its way into Canada. Natural wines are what they sound like: naturally produced without any human or chemical intervention. No additives, chemicals, sulphur, filtering, no oak from barrels, nada. I've been dying to check out Pearl Morissette in Niagara, which is as far as I can tell, one of our only natural wine producing vineyards at this date. Definitely on my list to visit this summer!
If I’ve convinced you to venture outside your regular go to's, organic is definitely the most attainable version of healthier wine in Ontario. Every LCBO is different but there's usually a little section for organic and the staff is always super helpful. Honestly though, is it just me, or does anyone else enjoy getting lost in the Vintages section for waaaaaay too long?!
Happy wine drinking!
- Lisa xx