Since Ivan and I first drove off to France in the Purple Van in 1997, we have been committed to sourcing and importing organic wines from Europe- these for the most part from small family-owned vineyards.
In the early days the range was somewhat limited but in the ensuing years this niche sector, no longer looked upon as aspirational and impractical, has expanded into what is now looked upon as mainstream viticulture.
Sustainability, once the preferred option, is now crucial.
Mary & Ivan Pawle
Frequently Asked Questions
All the wines that we import have been certified by EU standards and you will recognise the green leaf- shaped logo on the label. (The European Union organic logo ) This certifies that the wine is produced without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers and with minimum use of sulphur dioxide.
The label may also carry a Demeter symbol to signify that the grapes have been grown using the Biodynamic or Rudolf Steiner method of farming based around a specific astronomical calendar. (Demeter Symbol)
This term refers to wines that have had minimal intervention in their vinification. Though not yet officially regulated, it is generally accepted that the grapes must be grown without synthetic chemical intervention, harvested by hand and with minimal or no added sulphur dioxide.
One of the processes in wine making is called “fining”, a method of clarifying the wine by removing tiny particles of debris. A fining agent is added to a vat of wine and it will gradually sink to the bottom, magnetically collecting any unwanted particles on the way down.
A common fining agent is egg white and sometimes casein ( a milk product) both of these would make the wine unsuitable for Vegans. Some of the products that have been used include gelatine and isinglass -these would not be suitable for Vegetarians. All our wines are suitable for Vegetarians and increasingly more and more are Vegan friendly with some wine makers including Vegan certification on the label.
Sulphur, a naturally occurring element, is used as SO2 in a variety of food preparations and dried fruits. It can be used to stabilise fermentation of wine and for inhibiting bacteria. Organic certification permits its use, but to a much lower level than for conventional wine-making. Many of our wine producers use minimal amounts, often just adding a small dose at the time of bottling. Those who do not use any will often specify “No added sulphites” on the label even though by legal requirements the label must also state “contains sulphites” because sulphur can occur naturally.
It is worth bearing in mind that a bottle of wine is one of the very few products that you will buy for human consumption that does not have to carry a list of ingredients on the label!!