If you love wine, but you are less attached to the sulphites, perhaps in search of vegan or biodynamic wine, then you need to know about the organic wine people, Vintage Roots.
The name was derived from a reggae compilation tape on a road trip the founders took to France in 1985. They started the business with a sheet of road trip “research” – a list of fifteen wines, and now sell over 400 organic wines and drinks. Co-founders Neil Palmer and Lance Pigott continue to fly the flag for organic, biodynamic, natural and ethically produced wines from around the world, not to mention quirkier offerings such as organic cachaça, a seaweed gin and the imminent arrival of their first organic Tequila.
Vintage Roots is joining this year’s Salvo fair in Henley, 23rd-25th June. Salvo fair is the annual event of Salvo.co.uk, the online marketplace and directory where I source a lot of salvage for my flat, so I am getting involved for this year’s Green Living Fest. Zero waste food, vintage and sustainable fashion are set to join the unique mix of architectural, garden, midcentury and industrial antiques.
Just like antiques, wine can be a stuffy business, but Neil (pictured above in his eighties bins), is admirably honest about Vintage Roots’ struggle at the start.
“This is not meant to sound arrogant, but I wouldn’t have given too much advice to my younger self, as it is important to learn by your mistakes. We grew very slowly in the early days (about 10 years!), and earned little from the business, but all came good and we had some fantastic memorable times.”
Vintage Roots is giving Salvo’s (Fri 23rd June) evening preview party plenty of fizz in support of Smart Works Charity, and unique fashion reuse that both supports out of work women and reduces landfill. See the details and buy tickets here (all proceeds to Smart Works Charity)
Vintage Roots are planning to be in my Fair Fashion marquee for tastings over the weekend too. They describe wine as bottled history, which begs the question – what is the future for winemaking and the favour for organic or biodynamic wine?
“In the wine trade there is a growing number of wine makers and producers who are choosing to return towards older ways of making wine, using little or no intervention. Only natural yeasts to start the fermentation, sometimes ageing in old Amphora pots and adding little or no sulphur dioxide. Wine should not be a mass produced, ‘industrial’ product, more treated as something that is living. Organic and biodynamic farming methods keep the soils alive, which in turn feeds the grapes, and produces higher quality, more complex wines, whilst maintaining the soil for the growers of the future.”
Since 2005 their office has been powered by 100% renewable energy and in 2006 the company became the first in the UK to offset the carbon footprint of all its wine and beer imports. Last year saw the introduction of a “Vine to Lips” logo, designed to communicate the carbon commitment of a firm that sets the standard for green retail.
©photographs courtesy of Vintage Roots