TOP ORGANIC DROPS The organic beer and wine industry is growing stronger every day as consumers opt for a safer, more sustainable and potentially tastier alternative. A host of local wineries, breweries and distributors have already started specialising in organic products and are reaping the rewards. Harris Organic Wines is just one of WA’s many wineries concentrating on organic products. This certified organic winery was established in 1998 and is located in the heart of the Swan Valley, specialising in table wines like Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc as well as natural dessert and sparkling wines. The winery also makes a double wood-fired and distilled brandy which is the only certified organic brandy made in Australia. Harris Organic Wines owner Duncan Harris is quick to point out that organic wine contains no nasty herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers, making them better for you and the environment. “Remember great wine is made in the vineyard,” he muses. Harris says organic vineyards are generally better managed than conventional vineyards, making for a better end product. “Therefore the grapes are better and the wine is better,” he explains. Koala Beer owner Chris Gordon says organic beer may not be ‘better’ but it certainly is different, and Australians are starting to catch on. Koala Beer produces organic beer in the form of Burragum Billi organic lager which has a crisp, dry malt flavour and has a floral, fruity aroma.
Burragum Billi organic lager Much to the delight of coeliacs across the nation, the company has also just produced a pleasant tasting gluten free organic pale ale called Wilde. Gordon says people who seek out organic products do so because they consider
them safer and more sustainable. “Safer because they are assured the beer has nothing unwanted in the bottle - just beer. Pure beer tastes different because it is beer as it used to be made,” Gordon says. Raw Wine And Beer director Michael Gow started his business in 2002 after drinking a bio dynamic wine and noticing there were only a few available on the market. Gow’s company is an independent organic wine and beer marketing company that distributes nationally, representing wineries and breweries such as Switch, J&J, Jean Paul’s, Avonmore, Bodegas, Bunn, Captain’s Creek, Gardner’s Ground, Kangaroo Hills, Mountain Goat, Richmond Plains and Pig In The House, among others. “I had worked in the wine industry for 10 years prior to that and thought I should start a wholesale wine business and get more organic and bio dynamic wines out into the market,” Gow says of his move into the organic industry. Gow reveals that a large part of his customer base consists of organic retailers that can only stock certified organic wine and beer. “A condition of the liquor license is that only wine with a certification logo can be sold at these venues.” Australian Certified Organic is an Australian certifying body that deals with organic products. Duncan Harris says he joined ACO because it offers more support than other certifiers. “It costs more but it is worth it,” he says. Most of Raw Wine And Beer’s business comes from people who cannot drink chemical wines. “They get bad reactions like headaches, rashes and hot flushes and once they try our wines they get hooked because they don’t suffer the next day,” Gow explains. As Raw Wine And Beer’s website outlines, additives and preservatives can cause uncomfortable reactions in some people, which is
Harris Organic Wines where organic wines come to the rescue. “Australian laws currently permit the use of 19 listed additives and 37 different processing aids in wine manufacturing. These include sulphites (most commonly sulphur dioxide and potassium metabisulphite), egg and milk products, gelatin (a meat product), wheat, isinglass (a fish product), yeast, and other food chemicals. In most instances, these ingredients are relatively benign and unlikely to provoke serious physiological reactions. But if you suffer from allergies, you need to be careful: most wines on the market could potentially cause you grief, even in the smallest doses.” Whether you’re on the hunt for organic, preservative free or biodynamic beverages, Raw Wine And Beer have just what the sommelier ordered. Find out more about these, and other organic beverage companies via harrisorganicwine. com.au, koalabeer.com and rawwineandbeer.com.au. _AARON CORLETT