By James Wells, reporting from ProWein in Düsseldorf
A specialist organic and biodynamic winery from the McLaren Vale has seen demand for its sulphur-free wine grow by 500 per cent in 12 months.
Speaking to TheShout at ProWein in Düsseldorf, Paxton global sales director, Brian Lamb (pictured), said the NOW wine, which is now into its second vintage, has been developed to address the no-sulphur wine category.
“NOW has been created for a part of our consumer base that is interested in not just our organic and biodynamic farming principles, but also winemaking that used no additional sulphur,” Lamb told TheShout.
“With our normal biodynamic certifications we could only use 100 parts per million with our limitations on SO2 which works out to be one-third of the industry standard, however we wanted to take it one step further with NOW and make a no-sulphur added wine. We also wanted to showcase what Shiraz looks like in its purest form, so it is what we would call a nouveau-style of shiraz, we used some of our best A-grade fruit from a selection of vineyards and then we pressed it into bottle – it is ripe bursting fruit and no oak influence and it is very easy to drink.
“The no-sulphur genre is growing in all markets. From the first vintage we were quite surprised – we did a small run, and dipped our toes into the domestic Australian market and it sold out within three months, even though we expected it to take a year to sell out our production run. So it was quite obvious that it is something that each of our distribution partners is looking for and now it is going to expand into our export markets because once they got wind of it – they asked for it too, so basically we have had to increase production five-fold for the 2017 vintage.
“We designed a sub brand label with different colours and look and feel purposely – there will probably be a future for adding new varietals to it – we will look at adding a complimenting white wine as well as potentially red varietals such as Grenache, Cabernet or even Tempranillo.
“Normally surprises in the wine industry are bad, but this was a good surprise.
“Biodynamics is a farming focus and when we have that verification in our farming process, when it comes to making sulphur-free wines that is adding a winemaking element to it. I think we had a base foundation of trust and respect from our brand story and our core brand items from the last 20 years – so it was quite an easy transition to introduce this sulphur-free wine to our existing customer base.
“Organic is a blanket term for doing things healthy, smartly, environmentally-friendly, ecologically-friendly and the world of consumers is looking to embrace this and organic wine fits into that.
“An interesting example in the export market, is the Danish government has become involved in putting a mandate where 15-20 per cent of all consumer products must be certified organic in the next five years. So it is not only consumer trends, it is also the social and government trends. I think this is reality of where the world is going and we are happy to be a part of it.
“We have 200 acres that we have been farming biodynamically since 2004, we are a mid sized winery – and we have found a way to make the economics work so that the consumer is getting incredible value for $20. I think most wineries would agree that if you can over-deliver at $20 that is the secret to success.
“Organic wines do not have any distinctive taste, it is just how we farm. What you should see is like your organic vegetables or meat – they taste cleaner, they taste fresher and more authentic and ultimately wit our grapes they have a more sincere purity and a more direct flavor profile – don’t be afraid of organics.”