For the past few years, while a few businesses have shifted the way they operate in order to incorporate more environmentally friendly practices, others have made it a way of life.

One such a business is Stellar Organic Winery. Willem Rossouw, managing director of Stellar Winery, decided years ago to channel all his energy into not just creating another wine brand, but a wine label that is 100% organic and fair trade certified.

According to Klaas Coetzee, head winemaker, production manager and general arbiter of quality at Stellar Winery, the main health benefit of making organic wine is that there is no pesticide and herbicide is used in and around the field and vineyards. This means that consumers will not be harmed by any chemicals or additives.

“Organic wine is not only healthier for your body; it is also better for the environment, because we use organic, responsible farming methods as opposed to conventional or outdated ones.”

Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) says that organic wine has to be made from organically grown grapes and has to meet standards as stipulated by recognised organic certification agencies. The regulations, however, may differ from country to country.

“All organic wine is produced without chemical pesticides or fertilisers. In some countries, organic wine must be produced without the added use of sulphites,” says SWSA.

The sustainability of organic wine production

Vegan friendly and gluten free

Not only is Stellar’s wine organic, it is also vegan friendly and gluten free. This is unfortunately not true of all organic wines. According to Klaas, conventional wine-making methods implement proteins like gelatin and isinglass from fish and egg whites as fining agents when rounding and softening the wine. This is not allowed when making vegan friendly wine.

“Although it is more expensive, Stellar Winery uses protein derived from peas, legumes and potatoes in their fining process,” Klaas explains. This ensures that vegan wine lovers can enjoy their wine without shame.

More than seven years ago, after Stellar Winery received their certification through Ecocert for fair trade as well as organic wines, there where more and more people asking them forrequested vegan friendly options, according to Klaas.

“The natural movement was to make all our wines vegan friendly and not just make a specific range,” explains Klaas. “Another benefit of organic wines is that they also have lower sulfatesulphate levels than conventional wines.”

Stellar Winery also has a few special no-added-sulphur wine ranges, created in 2004. To qualify for this certification, the wine has to have fewer than ten parts per million of total sulfatessulphates. “The reason for this is because if you make wine with yeast, the yeast can also produce natural sulfatessulphates and it can normally be more than is allowed,” says Klaas.

“The trick is to continuously monitor your yeast and use specially selected yeast which does not produce a lot of sulfatessulphates. This will ensure that there isn’t a lot of natural sulfatessulphates in the wine,” Klaas explains.

According to Willem, organic farming is more sustainable because it creates an ecosystem in the vineyard which is self-sufficient and self-regulating.
“It doesn’t just produce wine that’s better for the environment – it has a real added benefit for your business,” says Willem. -Press release