By Lisa Perrine Brown, Oryana Wine & Beer Purchaser
Is organic milk and juice important to you? Is sustainable farming important to you? Well then maybe that’s a great reason to support organic and sustainable wine makers.
What defines organic wine…
“Organic wines certified by the USDA have strict regulations. The grapes are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, and all ingredients going into these wines, which includes yeast, must be certified organic. No sulfites may be added to these wines, although some that occur naturally are permitted. Only these wines may display the USDA organic seal.”
Many local wine makers use biodynamic methods but committing to go totally organic/sustainable takes commitment. Each country has different organic certifications depending on their country and not are all USDA Organic Certified. Also, some wineries claim to operate sustainably and may meet organic certification rules but choose not to become certified organic.
What is biodynamic farming…
“Biodynamic winemaking is a governing practice that goes back nearly a century. Unlike organic winemaking, the distinction of biodynamic does not change between countries. Started in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, biodynamics represent a method of farming based around a specific astronomic calendar. Each day coincides with one of the elements: earth, fire, air and water. Days are organized by fruit days (preferable for grape harvesting), root days (pruning), leaf days (watering) and flower days, where the vineyard should be untouched.”
At Oryana we are committed to bringing in many different types of wines from all over the world as well as supporting many local wineries. In 2021, we will be bringing in both local and exported organic wines. Distance also factors in on how ecological a bottle of wine is. Something grown, produced, and shipped locally, uses far less fossil fuels. Yet our area doesn’t produce top notch Cabernet Sauvignons, whereas Chile, Australia and Washington do. You need to choose what is important to you.
With organic wines you are getting fewer residual pesticides because fewer chemicals are used in their creation. That’s important to me, as well as the environmental reasons.
To make finding the organic wines easier in our stores, we have created an organic wine endcap featuring affordable Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Sauvignon Blanc, a crazy delicious wine from southern Italy called Ruminat – Primitivo.
Naturalis – Organic Wine from Australia
One wine we are featuring is Naturalis, from the Angove family in Australia. Look for the cool crisp modern graphics incorporated with a bee. Certified organic means to this family that this wine is free from synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. They are certified Organic in Australia and the U.S. Because they produce their grapes organically, you taste the pure fruit that is unique to southern Australian wine regions.
This winery also practices biodynamic farming, which means the Angove family uses Indian Runner ducks rather than pesticides to control snails, who love to eat grapes. Since no synthetic chemicals are sprayed on the plants, it means no toxic chemical residue is transferred into the soil and eventually into the ground water and natural river systems and coastal areas. Sustainable farming safeguards marine life, wildlife, plants. and us. The Richard Angove family is a 5th generation winemaker at Angove Organic.
Brengman Brothers Vineyard
I want to also highlight a local winery, Brengman Brothers. This winery’s spray program is 95% organic. They use compost consisting of grasses, grape products, manure, oyster shells, liquid fish, spent grains, and other micro nutrients. They choose the best growing terrain for each varietal of grape while also looking at dirt, weather patterns, temperature swings, trellis style, and rootstock. For these reasons, as well as the phenomenal taste of their wines, we will have their wine at both our locations.
Both stores have dedicated local wine sections with excellent selections from vineyards from both Leelanau and the Old Mission Peninsula. As locals we are very proud of our wineries that produce award-winning wines. Many of our local wineries practice biodynamic farming and sustainable practices, making them an important component of our economic fabric here in Grand Traverse County. They employ lots of local residents that work in the tasting rooms and production. Please remember this when making your wine selection.