Not all Kerner Estate Wines (Marlborough, New Zealand) are made from organically-grown grapes but Bruce and Joanne Kerner have begun experimenting with organic techniques for their Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Bruce Kerner discussed his experience in an article from several months ago in The Daily Sip:
The soil has rejuvenated itself in two seasons. The vines are healthier. And the flowers and the grasses and clover that grows inter row, it’s just nice to be in it as opposed to a scorched-earth chemical regime. I’m out there doing it every day, and I notice a complete and total difference between the inherent and actual health of the plants, and I think that translates into the wine.
I like Kerner’s quiet and simple observation of the impact of organic methods. Clover, indeed, is a good thing.
It’s interesting that wine is one of the few products where going organic* is not necessarily considered smart marketing. One study found that wineries that are certified organic and note that status on their labels will see a price decline. There is a common perception that natural or organic wines are substandard – and that consumers have to take a hit in quality if they want to support organic methods. Thankfully, that conception is slowly changing.
I highly recommend the Organic Wine Journal for anyone interested in this topic. And Organic Wine Find is a great site to find organic wine options (especially since many wines are not labeled organic). The Organic Wine Find also has a FAQ page that details the distinctions between the terms organic, natural, sustainable, biodynamic, etc.
The underlying ideology behind all of this is fascinating. For a most eloquent discussion of the term “natural wine,” for instance, I would recommend reading Alice Feiring’s letter.
There is so much more to this topic. I merely attempt to scratch the surface.
Organically yours. Cheers.
* I use the term organic very broadly and generically. See the FAQ page on Organic Wine Find’s site (linked above) for more detailed definitions of the various characterizations.