I wanted to dedicate this post to explaining the difference between good and bad wines – what ingredients/additives are lurking in conventionally produced bottles, and why it’s so much better to choose organic, bio-dynamic varieties. Those of you who have read my blog on alcohol will already have a heads up on this, but I wanted to expound upon wine, particularly as many people have been asking about the many tasty varieties that are being served at the Be At Buckley’s evenings…
Just as there is a huge variance in the quality of meat you can buy (force-fed, chemically-laden, or free to roam on green, organic pastures) there is a huge range in the quality of wine you can buy too. The unnatural, sped-up nature of the industrialized food system is the cause so much of this bad practice – disregarding the important sowing, growing and fermenting processes that are vital to making natural and environmentally respectful wine. Most of us still think wine is made from grapes that are then fermented in a big barrel, with maybe a few preservatives added. However, if wine makers had to list the ingredients in their wine I think a lot of you would think twice…
Ingredients added to fast-made wine:
- Fast-activating yeast (similar to what is added to bread and which makes our bellies bloat)
- Manmade chemicals – pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
- Sulphites/preservative #220-226 – these have been proven to cause most of the allergies experienced by wine drinkers. This chemical also gives off similar histamine reactions to seasonal allergies
- High levels of tannins from the oak and wooden barrels – tannins are the natural astringent found in plants that are there to repel insects and grazing animals. Although natural, tannins do have strong chemical properties that affect those people who suffer from allergies.
- The corks used to seal bottles of wine have been found to have absorbed chlorine-based pesticides (DDT, chlordane, and heptachlor). Although corks are traditional, it really is better health-wise that wines are bottled with screw tops – these offer a perfect seal and mean less sulphites added to your wine
- Cane sugar – do we really need any more of this drug?
- Also note: grapes are not washed before being made into wine – this means all the chemicals sprayed on the vines and on the soil also end up in your glass!
Why vintage/organic/biodynamic/natural wines are best:
- No fast-activating yeast allowed! What allows the grapes to ferment is the naturally occurring yeast in the skin of the grape – this process takes much longer but means the quality of the wine is far richer. Your gut won’t be upset nor your immune system compromised.
- The use of synthetic fungicides, herbicides and fertilisers is prohibited – this means we are less likely to suffer such horrendous hangovers, or even be hungover at all(!). Instead of using these man-made fertilisers the grower prefers to cultivate a healthy vine that is capable of defending itself naturally from anything that might harm it
- The taste of the wine is authentic year after year as the timing of planting, fertilising and harvesting are governed not only by mother nature, but also by the lunar and cosmic cycles.
- Biodiversity and producing wine this way means the land is respected. Allowing the population of worms and bacteria to build up in the ground promotes healthy soil and improves mineral absorption to the grapevine. This of course also improves the quality and taste of the wine.
- The growers and viticulturists keep the art and passion of traditional wine making techniques alive
- Interested? Learn more here
I hope this has cleared up any confusion you may have over the production of wine, and just why it’s important to spend a little bit more on quality – for your health, the environment and to support the creative passionate grower.