Why not Organic?

Why not Organic? 

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot recently whilst talking to people about the virtues or organic wine. Especially by those who buy organic fruit and vegetables, have organic gardens, and generally consider themselves to be ‘pro organic’. However after asking them which wine they buy regularly, surprise, surprise, it wasn’t a certified organic wine! So I suppose my question is, why is wine seen as less important to be organic than other produce in NZ? This short (and opinionated) blog focuses on the devout organic consumer.

Price
Could it be price? Surely Organic Wine is more expensive than a non-certified wine, or is it?  Obviously, this is a tricky question to answer. How much is an organic wine? How long is a piece of string? To make things fair I picked wine’s with a similar rating picking an Organic wine first, and then a random non organic (from NZ’s Raymond Chan) and then compared the price. I did this at the high end, and again at the low end.
At the high end Marlborough Sav; Organic $27.50 (Wairau River 2013 Reserve) VS non organic $27.99 (Stoneleigh Latitude 2013)
Low end; Organic $20 (Natural Wine Co, 2013) VS Non Organic $20 (Clark Estate)
Obviously, pickings get a bit slimmer for organic wine in the sub $20 range, however it is possible to pick up organic wine for as little as $14- so whilst your choice is more limited, shopping purely by your wallet shouldn’t impact your choice of Organic Vs Non.

 

Availability
Without question yes. But thats to be expected, organic fruit is harder to find than run of the mill, pesticide treated fruit, you often need to go to a specialist fruit store opposed to your local supermarket. The same is true of wine, although perhaps to a larger extent. After a quick look in the aisles of the local ‘New World’ I found precisely 3 Organic Pinot Noirs, compared to the almost endless selection of non organics. Although a trip to a local wine specialist uncovered nearer 10 organic Pinot Noirs, still a very small percentage of the wines sold, but give the percentage of NZ organic vineyards, this is to be expected.

 

Knowledge/Habbit
This does seem to be the current weak link within the New Zealand Organic Wine industry, when it comes to consumer education. Organic consumers know why they pick up organic apples, to avoid pesticides and chemicals used, but when it comes to wine we (in the main) seem to completely overlook these same factors, and pick up our favourite bottle of wine regardless of the growing process, or the chemicals they have been sprayed with. Now I realise there is a very large part of the sector that really doesn’t care whether their wine is organic or not, as they don’t care if there apple’s are organic or not (clearly not our target market here!)! However there is a sizeable chunk of the organic market that just isn’t in the habit of extending their organic lifestyle to their wine choice.

This is something I hope these awards will go some way to helping with- helping the already converted make a good wine choice that fits with their organic ethics!