Looking to switch to a more organic lifestyle? Then these are the English wines to buy
An increasing number of vineyards are adopting a more natural approach to farming by shunning fertiliser and pesticides. Because no pesticides are used, Organic grapes are much healthier with thicker skins and therefore contain a higher concentration of those good-for-you antioxidants. So essentially, drinking organic wine is good for you! Here are some of our favourites.
Nick Wenman planted Albury Organic Vineyard, right in the heart of the Surrey Hills, in 2009 and believes that the key to the success of his family’s award-winning wines is the vineyard’s commitment to organic and biodynamic principles. Their wines have been enjoyed by royalty but their Classic Cuvée (a classic sparkling blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) is so good it won gold at the International Organic Wine Awards.
Will Davenport has been making wine from grapes gorwn at his Kent and East Sussex vineyards since the early 1990s and made the decision to convert all the vines and his winery in Rotherfield, East Sussex to organic systems in 2000. Unlike traditional sparkling wine, this natural sparkling (Petillant Naturel) is fermented just once, creating a gentle fizz with a lower level of alcohol (just 8.5%). Because there are no added sulphites, the wine is a slightly cloudy, which takes a getting used to but if you’re after something a little different, this is well worth a try.
The vineyard at Laverstoke Park in Hampshire comprises just 9 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that produce a small amount of Vintage biodynamic sparkling wines. This involves applying Laverstoke’s own compost made on site and regular testing using the onsite laboratory to ensure the correct biology in the soil. There is also regular applications of compost tea to the foliage of the vine and the inter row to assist the vine in its defence against disease. The 2015 Vintage Brut, which won a silver medal at the IEWA 2020, is light gold in colour but complex in flavour.
This gorgeous rosé from Oxney Organic Estate, the largest single estate organic vineyard in the UK, is one of our all-time favourites. Delicate, crisp and also vegan-friendly, the wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in a pocket microclimate next to the river Rother in East Sussex and while rosé is usually synonymous with summer, we’d happily pop this one open any time of year.
Strictly speaking, this is not an English wine but it is produced by a company in England – in Leatherhead in Surrey to be precise. Protecting our oceans is at the heart of SeaChange, which uses renewable plant-based closures with no plastic wrap and paper labels partially made form grape waste on its bottles. Now the brand has launched two organic wines, a white and red form Valencia in Spain, further extending its environmental credentials. The Chardonnay is a great summer option but the red – made from the Spanish native grape Bobal, is perfect as we move into autumn with intense flavours of cherry and blackcurrant. Sea Change also makes a donation to marine charities for every bottle sold.