The Ins And Outs Of Organic Wine

Sustainably made wine: what is it, how do we find it, and why is it so important? It’s a question a lot of us have been wondering for a while, so we’ve partnered with Naked Wines to shed a little light on the small sustainable winemakers of Australia. This week, we were lucky enough to speak with Derek Hooper, one half of the husband and wife team behind the Obelisk label directly invested in and funded by Naked Wines Australia

Along with his wife Anna, Derek grows and produces a range of organic Australian wines, sourcing fruit from their own biodynamic vineyard and other vineyards across the greater Limestone Coast.

If this interview inspires you to stock up on the good stuff, we’re here to help. The team at Naked Wines are offering the TCS community $100 to spend on their selection of organic, biodynamic and sustainably produced wines. Claim your Naked Wines $100 voucher here.


What does an average day look like for you as a winemaker?

Flat out these days – I have a team that run the day to day operations of the winery for this time of the year (putting wines to barrel/filtration etc), but I am very involved in the vintage as this is where the magic starts. This year was a very frantic one to say the least. I am now finding myself doing more business development for our group of companies here – we’ve built a brewery and are setting up a distillation business on site, and we’re at a very steep growth phase, and we will be for the next few years.


What would your advice be to someone looking to learn more about wine?

Drink outside your norm, be adventurous. Read about what you are tasting and try to put that into perspective for what you taste.


What are three things to look for when you’re choosing a bottle?

Style of the wine – will it match what I feel like?

Who has made it? Reputation is important.

Price – consider the price compared with that of other, similar options. Ask someone in the shop what they think, or ask what they recommend


What are three things to avoid when you’re choosing a bottle?

For me it’s the commercial, big name producers – these create often pretty boring wines

Own branded products in supermarket owned bottle shops – they’re all the same and totally not exciting

Poor vintages – definitely best avoided, get to know what region had a good year, and avoid the vintages that come from the off-years


From a health perspective: why should we choose organic or natural wine?

Organic wine is better for you and better for the environment. All organic producers have a “tread lightly” approach and sustainability is important, there’s a reverence for nature that comes through in the end product. From a health perspective, having less sulphur in the wines means you’re consuming fewer chemicals, so that’s got to be a good thing.  The standard that is adhered to for certified natural wine means the levels of sulphur are greatly reduced, and so much more care goes into the wine.


From a broader perspective: taking into account the environment at large, why should we choose organic or natural wine?

Sustainability is at the forefront for biodynamic and organic producers. In our case we have established 5 hectares of revegetation areas which are designed as seed banks for local plants that we and others can collect to grow more seedlings for other projects. Producers make sure they give back to the environment, to leave the land better than they found it. We have taken our winery off grid with a massive solar and battery system which supplied both the brewery and winery with three phase power, it’s about acting with respect for the environment and what it helps us to produce.


What are your thoughts on the future of the wine industry in Australia? Are you seeing a move towards organic and natural wines across the industry?

Definitely growing. There are excellent sustainability programs that many non organic producers are getting into, and so much interest in the community of sustainable wine makers (Sustainable Winegrowing Australia). Organic certification is being undertaken by a lot of well known producers, and I reckon this will continue to grow.


What’s your personal favourite wine from your range, and why?

I love our Obelisk Uncharted range. Well balanced wines, biodynamic, well priced and delicious.


Is there anything else you would like to share with the TCS community about winemaking?

I think we all forget about how important community is. We embrace this with all our staff. We try to make sure that we put back into it and do what we can to make it grow. Rural areas are often remote and a good community is a great way to overcome this


If this interview has got you inspired to stock up on the good stuff, we’re here to help. The team at Naked Wines are offering the TCS community $100 to spend on their selection of organic, biodynamic and sustainably produced wines. Claim your Naked Wines $100 voucher here.


T’s & C’s apply
The boring bits: To use this voucher you must be 18 years or older. Delivery not included. This voucher entitles first time Naked Wines customers to $100 off their first order of 12 bottles. All orders are a minimum of 12 bottles, and a minimum spend of $155.88. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. *Next day delivery is available to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth metro areas for orders placed before 3pm. We don’t ship to Northern Territory. Delivery not included. Offer is subject to change. See website for full Terms and Conditions.

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