"Drinking goes organic

How does a meat and potatoes Midwesterner become a pioneer in the organic wine business?

This was just one of the many questions swirling in my mind as I dialed the phone to talk with Katrina Frey of Frey Organic Wines. Born and raised in Michigan, Frey now raises consciousness in California and the world with her fresh, fruit-forward organic and biodynamic wines.

NUVO: Why should I buy an ORGANIC wine?

Frey: Organic farmers don’t use chemicals so there is no added contamination to the land or chemical contact with those who farm it. The end product has none so consumers won’t ingest those chemicals either. There is really no excuse to NOT farm organically, especially in Northern California. It’s a healthy practice that affects everyone in many ways.

NUVO: Does organic wine taste different than my favorite wines?

Frey: We make our wines to reflect the taste of the fruit. All grapes have naturally occurring sulfites but your body adapts to those better than synthetically added ones and we don’t add those to our wines. You will probably taste more of the pure fruit.

NUVO: Am I helping the planet when I’m drinking organic wine?

Frey: Food is a basic element in our life. If we change how we grow our food then we could make a significant change on a planetary level. Organic farming helps and heals the land, which enhances the ecosystem, which means better air, water, food and, yes, wine.

Vote with your dollars. It does send a message.

Sips to savor

• Frey Table Red: Blend of organically grown carignane, syrah and zinfandel from the Frey vineyards makes a magnificent mix of a Rhone-style wine. Juicy, fresh aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper. Terrific food wine. Enjoy with anything from Saga cheese to grilled lamb kabobs to prime rib to red and meaty-sauced pasta.

• Frey Table White: Organically grown Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes blend well, creating a soft, silky, fruity but dry wine that is delicious on its own or better yet with Thai food, grilled fish, sushi or veggie-based pizzas and pastas.

• Frey Zinfandel: More intense flavor, wild rustic, juicy fruit. Lush aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum, black pepper. Great with pizza or burgers.

•    Frey Vineyards Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004: Biodynamic and ready to roar. Chewy, ripe flavors of black cherry and vanilla lend themselves nicely to grilled meats, sausages and roasted chicken. Look for organic meats to pair with this one and enjoy a true clean, fresh, satisfying food/wine experience.

Drink naked

You drink organic wine so why not organic spirits? Shed the added preservatives and pesticides found in the process of most grain alcohol and let your next vodka, gin or rum indulgence be organic. It’s easier than it sounds and tastier than you might think. 

New Jersey-based importer Paul Davis imports organic spirits.

NUVO: Why organic?

DAVIS: Everything used in the process of producing our spirits is natural. The result of being chemical-free is our organic spirits are the purist distillates ever produced. We do not need to filter our vodka or gin because they come off the still clean and pure. Charcoal filtering or any filtering is not a good thing. While filtering takes out the bad stuff [congeners] it also takes away … the good qualities of the spirit.

We produce five organic spirits: Juniper Green Organic London Dry Gin, UK5 Organic Vodka, Papagayo White and Spices Rum and just certified Highland Harvest Scotch Whisky.

NUVO: How can I be sure that the cocktail I ordered is made with organic spirits? Will it taste different?

DAVIS: Because our organic spirits are so clean, the taste of the ingredients that make up the cocktail are more obvious, thereby making it more of a pleasure to consume. Another obvious fact is there is less burn so the cocktail will be easier and more pleasurable to consume.

NUVO: How can I get more organic spirits into the bars and liquor stores that I patronize? 

DAVIS: Simply ask for them by name. If there are any questions as to ours being available in a certain market your readers can go to our Web site, www.maisonjomere.com, click on the Organic Distributors page in our index and they can give their retailer or restaurant the name of the local distributor in their market that can supply these products. 



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