international organic wine award 2014
Q & A with Martin Darting – head of wine tasting
What is your verdict on this year's organic wine ward? Is there a qualitative trend which is emerging in the international organic wine sector?
To summarise, it can be said that the internatinal organic wine award 2014 was the most successful ever, having a turnout of 729 wines from 184 wineries in 19 countries was enormous. This result covered a wide range of styles: from modern to fruity traditional and other “interesting wines” all was there. It was enjoyable with the quality of the wines being quite impressive! Also it was very pleasing that for the first time we had entries from Turkey which achieved 6 gold awards from the 15 wines presented, a great result. Comparably, it can be said that the quality in the organic wine sector has continued to rise – especially for white wines, 26 of them being awarded gold with excellence (96 – 100 points), that's quite extraordinary.
Did you notice during the wine tastings this year various trends emerging that are having an effect on the organic viticulture or winemaking technology in organic wineries?
Trends which have emerged are clearly the production of sulphur-free wines, wines that give a spontaneous fermentation and the production of vegan wines.
In addition, increasingly holding on to tradition are wines that are predominantly created in the vineyard, without technological aid, wine yeast and no enzymes. The ratio of modern to traditional processing is currently around 80:20%. Also fascinating is the trend to create Orange Wines, we certainly want a few more entries at next year's wine tasting in this section.
Unfortunately, in some cases, climate change can be recognised in the wines; unusual ageing notes that can be classified as wine deficiencies is also a growing issue.
Did you have a personal favourite among the wines that received awards this year or a winery/newcomer who surprised you the most?
2013 was a strong white wine year, the climate in general was favourable for wines with a crisp acidity, the red wines however, did show that optimal grape maturity had not been reached in quite a few regions. If ever I should have to name a favourite, it would be among the white wines “Hibernal Late Vintage 2013” (biodynamic) from the winery Veritas in South Moravia, Czech Republic and as for Reds our surprise winner, the “Hofdame Claudia Barrique – Gamaret, Cabernet Dorsa AOC 2012” from Weingut Biovin Martin in West Switzerland.
The wine tasting team used the internationally recognised PAR® method. Can you summarise the advantages of this system in a few words?
The PAR® system has two major advantages: Firstly, the ratings of each wine are well understood, because a detailed analysis and the documentation of the wine and it’s sensory properties play a significant part in the final result. That is to say, the reviews are very objective. Secondly, every wine is singularly rated, regardless of others of its kind or style. So exceptional products also have the chance of a good score, even if they do not necessarily correspond to what ‘the market demands’”.
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
I hope that the (bio) winemakers are again willing to take the risks involved in terms of sophistication regarding their wines. Of course there is now a wide variety, but if we look closer, for example, the Chardonnays that we have tasted this year in spite of their different origins are essentially very similar. I particularly welcome the trend that I mentioned earlier towards more wines being produced in the vineyard with less technology. Wine is a natural product. I find it exciting to see what will develop when we start seeing “radical changes in the wine cellar”.
Martin Darting is qualified winegrower, an experienced sensory expert and developer of the PAR® methodology.
He works as an oenological consultant in quality management, lecturer in the training and education of winegrowers, and is the head wine taster for the International Biowein Award of WINE System AG. www.martin-darting.de
The results of the international organic wine award 2014 are available at
For more information about the awards and tastings from WINE System AG go to www.winesystem.info.
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