The evening was a great success but as you pull yourself out of bed the next morning you wonder why you are feeling so terrible! Understandable perhaps if you drank a lot, but if you still feel awful after only a couple of glasses of wine?
A bottle of wine is one of the few things you purchase that does not list its ingredients; nowhere on the bottle are its contents listed, yet more often than not it will be additives such as Sulphurs and Added Acid that will give you that thumping headache or feeling of nausea.
The selection of wines available in South Africa is huge; every year dozens of new labels appear on the supermarket shelves so there has never been a better time to get to know your supplier.
Make a list of the wines you enjoy and try to visit the wineries where they are made, this gives you an ideal opportunity to ask questions about how the wine is made, are artificial additives used , how much acid is in the wine. Most importantly ask about the producer’s farming practices. Most wineries are only to happy to share their knowledge and even show you around the winery and vineyards. Also, it is often better to choose a slightly older wine that has had time to mature in the bottle, thus allowing its natural flavour to evolve.
As an Organic Farmer and winemaker I know from firsthand experience that it is possible to manage the Vineyard without spraying a poisonous cocktail of Pesticides and Herbicides which will leave a residue that can affect your health, and with careful management of the grapes in the cellar it is equally possible to make fine wines by using natural wild yeasts and not adding enzymes and acids and filtering and agents such as Gelatine.
There are now a growing number of wineries in the Cape using Organic and Natural practices and most are committed to improving the welfare of the land on which they farm. There are also a growing number who are careful about what they put into their wines, so make a little time to get to know them and their wines; by doing so you can avoid those dreadful morning after symptoms.
Christine Stevens has farmed organically for the last 10 years, in the Western Cape. Here she produces a range of award winning quality Organic Wines under the Mountain Oaks Label and grows a range of Organic fruit and Vegetables . She has written two books 'Harvest' and 'Harvest Diaries', both about food and life on an Organic Farm. More information can be found at the Mountain Oaks Facebook page.