To be honest I have never been a fan of organic wine. There is no particular reason for this, I just simply haven’t found many that I like.
As part of my ‘research’ for my post Why does white wine affect me more than red wine? I decided to make a trip to the small family owned Harris Organic Wines winery in the Swan Valley.
Duncan, the owner and winemaker was actually out the back disgorging (removing the dead yeast cells called lees) sparkling Shiraz when I arrived and he invited me out the back to see this process first hand.
I thought this was great and I definitely wasn’t expecting this added bonus to my visit. The last time I saw this was at the Cava producer – Rimarts when I spent time in the Penedés in 2011.
Everything at Harris Organic Wines is done by hand, including the disgorging. Duncan was dressed in a long plastic blue apron and was literally covered in red wine from head to toe. The wine surgeon!
Hand disgorging will leave no yeast in the bottle however it is a very time consuming method. Machine disgorging involves the bottle necks being frozen by machines to remove the lees sitting at the top of the bottle after settling there over the previous months. Machine disgorging can cause a tiny amount of dead yeast cells and ice in the final product, which is why hand disgorging is the preferred method.
Next minute there was a loud pop and Duncan had removed the crown cap from the bottle, shot out the dead yeast and was topping up the bottle with a little bit of extra wine and capping it again. The process was complete in a mere 30 seconds. I thankfully got a couple of photos in – next time I will be sure to video it for you all!
What an awesome way to start my tasting, it’s not everyday you get to be part of the action. I then popped back into the cellar door to taste through the range with some other visitors. We tasted about 6 wines (Verdelho, Chardonnay, a couple of Shiraz’s, Tokay, Liqueur Shiraz) while Duncan chatted away happily about his wines and the area.
Harris Organic use no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers in the vineyard which makes them a green vineyard. Simply put, “organic wine is better for you and the environment” stated Duncan.
My verdict? I’ve found not one but a handful of organic wines that I like! Enough to buy a few bottles of the:
And my other purchase was a bottle of their organic vodka for $59. This is not any old vodka this is the only Australian certified organic vodka and guess what, it’s made of grapes!!
I’ve drank my fair share of cranberry and vodkas however I am no connoisseur when it comes to vodka. This one was crystal clear on the eye, which is a good thing. It actually has a rather pleasant aroma on it like grape hubba bubba with a warming alcohol kick. On the palate, well it definitely warms the throat however it has a very clean and silky mouth feel with notes of anise and I do believe it had a grapey flavour. I’m not one to sip my vodka straight but this one is not bad. Would I buy it again? For sure.
There is also an organic brandy and eau de vie (grappa) available to buy alongside some organic cleanskin wines and herbal tea at the cellar door.
Plus I got 18 freshly laid eggs for $6. I was one happy chappy that’s for sure! All up I found the Harris Organic wines absolutely lovely to drink, visiting the winery is a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to going back again to try their sparklings next time. It is also great to see they have a loyalty card – 1 free bottle for every 12 bought.