What was once regarded as a hippie aberration is slowly becoming a side of wine making that’s no longer regarded merely as a fleeting trend, but as the way forward for an industry that has becoming worryingly dependent on heavy-handed farming practices.
Every winemaker knows that the key to great wine is in the vineyards. The quality of the grape ultimately depends on the soil and how it is farmed. Everything that happens after the grapes are picked can either disguise or enhance greatness, but at its essence, winemaking is about harvesting the best possible grapes. Many believe that 80% of the winemaking happens in the vineyard.
And unfortunately, modern winemaking relies on modern industrialisation to extract as much profit as possible, using chemical fertilisers, pesticides and all manner of other heavy-handed methods.
And amidst all this industrialisation, there are the winemakers who view the science of growing wine grapes from a very different perspective. These farmers view organic or biodynamic farming as the only way to operate. As a wine farmer, to grow the very best grapes that they can, and to do it in a sustainable way, is more important than anything else.
They believe that their job is to build the soil and to look after the farm so that the farm will look after them. Organic or biodynamic farming are the only true forms of farming that offer a sustainable solution.
Organic farming is about being more proactive. It means that you are not too emotional. Most commercial farmers will spray with chemicals as soon as they see bugs. The pesticides have a skull and crossbones on the packaging with the word poison on it too! An organic farmer will rather sit back and watch the bugs – they eat, they get tired and they go away. And many farmers use ducks or geese to dine on the vineyard pests.
Biodynamics goes a step further than organic farming, making a switch from sustainability to self-sufficiency. It sees the farm as a closed system, and you try to make that system as self-sufficient as possible. To explain the difference – an organic farmer will buy organic fertiliser (which is still manufactured, packaged, transported etc) – the biodynamic alternative is buy a cow and then use the cow’s manure as fertiliser. Preparations (usually herbal) are added to compost being used in the vineyards and these help feed the soil. Biodynamics is about the rhythms and the cycles of the earth – it’s all about balance and allowing the vine to decide what nutrients it needs to make the whole system work effectively. It means that the farmer has connection to the rhythms of nature.
Farming in this way, produces a balanced grape. The use of chemicals, causes imbalances in the soil and therefore in the grape. This means that you need to wait until the grapes have a very high sugar content before they ripen, which results in jammy, over-ripe grapes with very high alcohol levels. What we want is for grapes to grow naturally, without human interference. This results in balanced grapes with better concentrations of flavour. The grape then ripens properly and then the wines can fully express their natural character.
And the demand from consumers is increasing for wines that are organically or biodynamically produced, as they become more aware of what they are consuming and the effects it has on the environment. Consumers can taste that there’s more life in the wines are produced organically.
From an economic viewpoint, each time the rand drops, production costs rise across the board, but Daisy’s manure costs exactly the same!
As organic wines deteriorate very quickly because they do not have any preservatives added, they therefor require preservation more than standard wines. AND… the production of organic wines is largely embryonic and unknown by many consumers. Offering wine by the glass would be the perfect way to introduce your wines to wine lovers. As the concept of organic products grow in popularity, more and more people would want to experiment with these wines. And Le Verre de Vin is the perfect wine preservation system to have in place to be able to allow your new consumers to experiment by offering them wine by the glass.
If you would like to find out how Le Verre de Vin can preserve the balance of your opened bottles of wine in your tasting rooms and your restaurants, for up to 21 days, then have a look at our website at https://www.bermarcollection.co.za or contact us on +27 (0)21 788 9788 or at