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Organic and biodynamic wine defy industry surplus: BFA

Demand for Australian organic and biodynamic wine continued to increase in 2009/10 despite the wine industry facing one of the largest surpluses in history, according to the Biological Farmers of Australia.

Many organic and biodynamic wine producers have reported record sales in the past year and have received international acclaim from the world’s top wine critics and wine shows.

Hart of the Barossa, one of the oldest certified organic vineyard in the Barossa Valley, was awarded a coveted gold medal at the prestigious International Organic Wine Award in Germany last month, placing the Barossa Valley and Australian organic winemaking in the global spotlight.

Vintners Michael and Alisa Hart from the winery received the esteemed honour for their 2008 Limited Release Certified Organic Shiraz in a field of over 411 of the world’s organic winemakers representing Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, South Africa, Greece, Argentina, Australia and Switzerland.

“We are passionate about our organic point of difference and so are our growing number of customers worldwide,” Alisa said.

“The recognition of our wine at international level confirms our commitment to producing premium wine, using sustainable farming practices.

“Our aim is to produce the best nature can offer using old-fashioned farming principles blended with modern winemaking techniques.”

The Hunter Valley’s Krinklewood Biodynamic Wines vigneron and owner Rod Windrim says that despite raising their bottle prices in 2009, sales have continued to grow with record sales recorded in November and December.

“We have a strong domestic base that continues to grow both direct and via our distributors in Victoria and NSW,” he said.

“Victoria is a relatively new market for us and it is proving hugely successful.”

Although not actively pursuing export in 2009, Windrim says demand from the international market saw Krinklewood secure two new export deals.

Krinklewood received a number of awards in 2009 including a blue-gold award for its 2008 Francesca Rose at the 2009 Sydney International Wine Competition in an open class of both conventional and organic wines.

Windrim was also shortlisted as Viticulturist of the Year.

“It is extremely important to us to receive recognition at conventional wine shows as it reiterates that we are not just hippy winemakers avoiding chemicals and riding a trend – we’re serious about making great wine.”

Wine columnist and Australian Gourmet Traveller wine editor Max Allen labelled organics and biodynamics as one of the fastest growing trends in Australian wine.

Vanya Cullen from Cullen Wines, (an Australian Certified Biodynamic Margaret River winery), was recently named winemaker of the year by the Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide and was listed by Wine Business Magazine as being amongst 2009’s 50th most influential people in wine.

She says the success of biodynamic wine can be attributed to the methods of production which emphasise the flavour of the region.

“Biodynamic grapes are a great expression of terroir and a sense of place,” she said.

Biological Farmers of Australia general manager Holly Vyner says the increasing recognition of Australian organic and biodynamic wines is a great indication of the industry’s future.

“Despite the wine industry suffering surpluses and declining value, growing international acclaim and reports of increasing sales for the organic wine industry are signs that consumers and critics alike are valuing both the taste and quality of wine that is produced with the health of consumers and the environment top of mind,” she said.

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