Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers, Ann Lin, shares the differences between eco-wines and what to look for at the shop.
The benefits of wine are becoming more well known with most information focusing on the antioxidant resveratrol (found in red wine) as being good for the heart. Some even say that red wine prevents tooth decay(1) and newer studies claim that a glass of red wine could equal an hour of exercise!(2) There are so many health benefits to drinking wine but not all wines are equal.
If you choose to drink wine because of the health benefits, there are a number of choices to factor into the final purchase such as the list below:
- Grape variety
- Disease treatment methods
- Chemical fertilizers and pesticides or natural/organic
- Soil preservation
Organic wines are produced from vines grown organically and no synthetic or chemically made products are used in the processing. There is a list of products authorised to use during the winemaking processes. Certification is a 3-5 year process.
Biodynamic wines are organic in addition to viticulture practices that are oriented by the moon cycles. There are four dates followed: leaf dates, flower dates, fruit dates and the root dates. The natural products used are made by the vineyard. The entire process is a type of micro-environment to get the correct, natural balance. Biodynamic wines can use naturally made chemicals during the wine making process, but in shorter duration to organic wines. There are fewer than 100 certified biodynamic vineyards.
Natural wine essentially has no meaning. A ‘natural’ wine can be produced with heavily pesticide-laden grapes though many natural wine producers use less chemicals and will try to grow the vines as naturally as possible, but there is no guarantee.
Eco-friendly wine is a generic word for organic, biodynamic and natural where producers take care of the environment and sustainability.
Many wine buyers are more aware and concerned with sulfites. But according to the owner of WineBeast, an eco-friendly-focussed wine store in Wan Chai, HK, sulfites are not the enemy of the wine or human. It’s the quantity of the sulfites that matter.
“ Wine is just the middle product in the transformation of grape juice. When grape juice turns into something else, it naturally turns to vinegar, not wine. Wine is just the middle product that the human being has managed to keep as wine. If you don’t preserve a little bit your wine, it won’t stay wine for a long time. My personal favorite wine depends on the meal, the occasion and the person I am with. Wine is one of the rare occasions that you can allow yourself to have very diverse taste.”
To learn more about the wonderful variety of eco-wines on offer, check out Healthy Living Asia’s wine reviews.
Ann Lin is a long-time resident of Hong Kong who loves exploring wines of the world. To get in touch with Ann, e-mail email@example.com for more information.