National Organic Week

To jolly things up while the Bubble Brothers website waxes and wanes - the final bugs are due for extermination tomorrow - the post title links to a site where you can listen to Tom Lehrer's 'National Brotherhood Week'.

We stock a fair few organic wines, including an organic champagne and an organic cava. And organic olive oil. Oh, we're terribly organic, in parts, down here at Bubble Brothers. I'm not linking to them: you know where to look. I'll try to put in some producer links, though.

The whole business of what makes a wine organic is very vexed. Even if you grow your grapes organically (and what does that mean?), should you process them with the same equipment that you might use for your non-organic grapes? Is it worth jumping through all the hoops to get what can often be expensive certification? Will this really make a difference to the consumer, in enough of your markets, to be worthwhile?

Customers often tell me that they want organic wine because non-organic wine makes them unwell in this or that particular way. I'm sceptical about limiting yourself to organic wine purely for health reasons. I tend to say, if a theory works for you, then follow it by all means - but there are so many variables in the production of a bottle of wine, and usually so many other factors to take in to account, that the organic-ness or otherwise of your chosen beverage probably doesn't make such a lot of difference.

Organic wines, in my small experience, generally are cleaner-tasting: less adhesive in the mouth and with a finish that doesn't outstay its welcome. That's about the size of it in tasting terms.

Now as for the wider issues, there's clearly every reason to work with a minimum of poisons &c. if you can. Also, the nature of the work involved in doing things organically means that the growers really have to care about and understand what they're doing, which is good. It's not always easy convincing the workforce, though. Mas Amiel - the link is to a comprehensive account by the Wine Doctor, Chris Kissack - are trying to 'go organic', but they told me that explaining the new approach to the team in the vineyards is proving an obstacle. That said, organics and biodynamics are very big in French winemaking. More of this anon.

Meanwhile - are you more or less likely to choose a wine if it's certified organic?

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