Clean Wine, Natural Wine, Organic Wine, Wine alternatives

‘Clean Wine’ – Wine terms explained.

Vegan, organic wine, free from things like sugars and concentrates. Confused? 😕 What does all this mean? Why are there things in my wine? I hear you saying.

Don’t worry, I’m here to explain some of the wine terms floating around these days. Read on to hear what all the fuss is about.

Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power have made a ‘clean wine’, Avaline, to be mindful of the health and wellness of their consumers. A vegan, organic wine, free from things like sugars and concentrates.

Before I go into more detail about wine terms, I need to make a point. This wine is being labelled as ‘health and wellness’ brand; they do know wine is a form of alcohol? I can see all the Yogis in LA throwing up their organic acai bowls, in hysteria right now. 

Wine = health and wellness🤔

I will give them the half a tick for wellness because we all know a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day does all sorts for your wellness, but maybe it is better suited with a ‘lifestyle brand’ label.

This wine is defiantly more about marketing and less about the wine. More of this next week in Part 2 – Wine marketing and why we are all talking about it? 

Ok, back to the wine part.

While Cameron Diaz has played many great roles, a wine guru is not one of them. I agree it is essential to know about what you are getting in a bottle, and that is why I am here to explain, the dilemma and clarify the wine terms.

What is 'Clean Wine'?

The jokers might say 'clean wine' is when wine takes a bubble bath' and the professionals will politely explain its wine made using organic practices. What are organic methods, I will explain that in a tick?

Why are we making a fuss about 'clean wine', well if there aren't enough terms to get your head around here is another one. Oh, Diaz and Power also make a few statements about wine that aren't entirely true or should we say, being transparent.

The Dilemma

Why has this caused so much chatter in the wine industry? Because here is what they claim:

1. They say their wine is ‘full of natural goodness.’

This isn’t orange juice; it is alcohol! Next, they will go around claiming it is one of your 5 a day, packed with vitamin C.

Do you want a nutrition guide on a wine bottle? Do you want to be reminded of the calories? I think not. I think what you want a guilt-free wine experience after you have put the kids to bed or after a long day in the office, am I right?

2. Free from dozens of unwanted and undisclosed extras.

The wine industry has come leaps and bounds over the years. If you look beyond the tip of your nose, you might find a whole wine movement dedicated to making wines in a more natural, preservative, pesticide freeway.

Also, I am not going to get too technical here, but when they mention adding some yeast, this isn’t a natural yeast. It is an additive!

3. Winemakers aren’t transparent.

Like everything, do your research, you will find loads of information on winery websites, about the wine and winemaking process.

Another point – depending on the food and hygiene standards of the country, the information should be displayed on the label. Maybe lobby for better food hygiene standards in the US to get transparency on your wine label.

Also, they ship the wine into the US from France and Spain, which raises some concern on their environmental impact

The Facts

There are some things you should know about wine because being transparent is important.

The ‘Contains Sulphites’ Debate

FACT – Sulphites occur naturally in wine.

FACT – Some winemakers add additional sulphites to their wine for constancy and prevent the wine from going rancid (oxidisation). It can also be a flavour enhancer, also displayed on wine labels as ‘Contains Sulphites’.

FACT – You know what else has sulphites – dried fruit, ketchup, chutneys, canned food, jam and photo chips. Next time you open your fridge or pantry take a look.

QUESTION? Is it the sulphites that make you feel unwell, or is it the fact you polished of a bottle or two while catching up with your bestie? I will let you ponder that for a minute.

As Jana, Owner of Forest Wines stated in her latest email ‘There is no such thing as a 100% sulphur-free wine. For those who are sensitive to sulphites, look out for low-sulphur or wines with no added sulphites.’ Here are some options you can explore at Forest Wines

Natural wine – A process by which the winemaker uses organic methods and does not interfere with the wine (minimal intervention). They do not add or take away anything in the process, leaving the wine to be wholesome and full of naturally occurring microbiology’ as clarified by

Low/ minimal Intervention – The wine has fewer or no additives or manipulations, no added sulphites. With a very close eye, the winemaker will watch the wine and lets it do its own thing. 

Organic Wine– Uses organic growing processes – This excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

Biodynamic Wine- Is a holistic- spiritual-ethical-ecological approach where they follow agricultural practices based on the lunar calendar and astrological influences. Not necessarily vegan as they do plant cow horns in the process. Wine Folly explains this in more detail here.

Vegan Wine – Often, winemakers use animal bi-products in the fining process, including egg whites, milk protein and isinglass (fish intestines). Now more winemakers are taking a vegan approach and using non-animal fining products usually bentonite, a form of clay or pea protein. 

Orange wine – White wine kept on the skins to give it’s amber, orange or golden tinge like a rose but with white wine grapes. 

I really hope that this has clarified things and that you are not scared off by the many wine terms and marketing ploys. Wine doesn’t need to be complicated, know what you like and be confident with that. Please get to know your local wine shop and chat to them about what you like. I guarantee you will be making more of a ‘clean’ wine choice.  

If you have any questions or ever want to know more about wine, I am here to chat through any questions you might have. Just email me or DM me on Instagram.