Here in Australia we have a vibrant wine industry including an increasing number of vineyards producing organic and/or biodynamic wine. We are especially keen on the wines from Mudgee in central NSW. This is a dry inland region that is ideal for organic growing due to the lack of humidity which reduces the amount of mould and fungus problems compared to locations closer to the coast, these are generally treated using chemical sprays. One of the oldest is Botobolar, they produce a range of affordable wines that are great examples of big red’s, not too subtle but good value drinking. The vineyard is unirrigated and has been much affected by drought in recent years, sometimes picking no grapes at all for a season.
Our favourite vineyard in Mudgee is Lowe Wines, these are really classy organic wines and the cellar door experience when the owners Jane or David are around is definitely worth making the trek for. They are very passionate about their wines, especially the award winning Zinfandel to which we have become quite attached. The 2003 Zinfandel won an international award, beating off well established makers from the US and elsewhere. These are hard to come by now, we recently opened a bottle to ensure that it was keeping well and were blown away, its still a fantastic wine. Now we have to hide the 5 remaining bottles from ourselves or they will all go the same way.
Also worth a mention is Thistle Hill. There are many others around the country and a great place to find them is www.organicwine.com.au. Recently major chains have started to see the light and are experimenting with stocking some organic wine. Last week the Vintage Cellars chain advertised a Sauvignon Blanc they have sourced from a co-operative in France. Its a pity they haven’t chosen to promote a local label, still I am keen to try it. For an international overview view of organic wine have a look at the Organic Wine Journal.