Winemaking and Grape Growing
Organic winemaking and organic grape growing involves auditing by a registered authority, in our case ACO (Australian Certified Organics), to determine that all stages of the process of grape growing and winemaking comply with a strict regime. To you it means the bud logo with a producer number attached, your guarantee that compliance is correct.
In grapes, no herbicides, insecticides and most fungicides are prohibited. Chemicals used must be naturally occurring and not poisonous. This allows some sprays to be used that are not harmful, and not taken up by plant tissue. In addition anything you add to the land must also be organic, particularly fertilizer. This is why we have a compost business to make our own fertilizer and any other mineral elements are in a mined not refined format.
In winemaking the same thing goes; cleaning agents like chlorinated compounds are out, no organic wine can be mixed with non organic wine.
You can only make organic wine from organic grapes.
Organic food must be produced from land farmed in an identical fashion and animals must be born onto a certified organic farm to be called organic. Particular attention is paid to husbandry that is sensitive to the animals natural requirements – natural breeding, extensive grazing, no synthetic chemicals such as worm drenches and of course, ethical handling.
Organic under conversion means that to achieve organic certification the vineyard must go through a conversion period minimum of three years, where you must practice pure organic growing, and must pass audits by an independent inspector contracted to Australian Certified Organic.
The Organic Standard
The most frequent question we are asked is does organic mean preservative free. No it doesn't, but it does mean less preservative. The standard winemaking preservative is 220; sulphur dioxide. For organics the maximum allowed is 125 ppm and all our organic wines and under conversion wines fall well below this. Consistently organic wines contain half the allowable preservative of standard winemaking practice.
How do we interpret the organic standard.
- In the vineyard we use competitive biology – aiming to be completely chemical free in dry years and to be using half the organic standard of copper and sulphur in wet years. Aiming always to lift the vine health through soil health and complexity and fight disease by leaving a vine with an active and competitive leaf surface biology that crowds out disease causing organisms.
- In the winery we didn't change anything about our winemaking to pass the organic standard. If you are focused on fruit flavour and quality you don't tend to use a high level of inputs. Our wines prior to 2004 are made in the same way as certified wines made since 2007.