This week, we've teamed with Organic Wine Club to offer you, our lovely readers the chance to win one of two £50 vouchers to spend on their organic, artisan wine. And we thought it would be interesting to know a bit more about their brand, what they stand for and how the whole idea began. So we decided to speak to Alex, to learn some more. Over to Alex... Organic Wine Club

Ethical Clothing, Organic Wine, Fad Diets… Do these have any substance?

Did you know that Switzerland has the highest population of people who support organic produce in Europe? That India and Turkey are the top producers of organic cotton. And, finally, fad diet related illnesses kill more people around the world than hippos? For the last few years, I have been on a voyage of discovery where I have tried almost every new and exciting diet and weight loss programme. This journey has intensified over the last eighteen months with the launch of a new business venture, Organic Wine Club. I thought I would share a few stories here with you from my own journey as well as that of a few friends.

Katie’s Mission

One of my absolutely best friends in the world is Katie. She is the very proud owner of every Vogue edition from 2001! Clearly, fashion and the world of clothing is very important to her. Very recently, she gave birth to another adorable baby boy. All new mums fill their baby’s wardrobe with baby grows and children’s clothing. Katie filled hers with ethical clothing! I admire the fact that, alongside all of the pressures and the tiredness a new parent feels, she had the determination and resolve to focus on this issue. After the birth of her first stunning baby boy, she obviously wanted him to be as safe as possible. Her entire house was ‘baby proofed’ and her entire wardrobe was made up of clothes that were organically or ethically made. She had done a little bit of online research and been terrified by some of the things she had read. Synthetic clothes and materials surround us but how many of you know that they can cause irritations for babies and small children? Katie didn’t want her son to develop skin issues and other problems so resolved to seek alternatives. She also discovered just how far child labour and pay exploitation has spread across the world. I do honestly believe that when you become a parent for the first time, you look at the world in a far different and ultimately less selfish way. Ideologically we would all of course condemn these practices but, in truth, how many of us turn a blind eye for a bargain and cheaper goods? Katie has since gone on to spend time encouraging other parents, new and old, of the benefits of ethical and organic clothing. She, just like inspirational businesses such as ‘Thought’, are making a statement and taking a stand against this exploitation and poor working conditions. Personally, I could not be more proud of her! Organic Wine Club

Dimitri’s Dilemma

This is a story of a friend, who also just happens to be my business partner. Coincidentally, this is also the beginning of our tale as to how our business came about. About two years ago, Dimitri started having some issues drinking wine - a bit of allergy here and there, rashes and sneezing - simply not great at all. As the proud holder of a WSET Diploma, this must have felt like the end of the world! So, what was the solution to this? Simple, ask Google of course, the all-seeing and knowing doctor. However, my sarcasm and mocking tone in this case is slightly unjustified. Sifting through the huge amount of varying information available in this area, it soon became apparent that his issue was related to chemicals. More online investigation pointed the finger at the sulphites found in wine. So, off we popped to the supermarket to buy alternatives. Sadly though we were in for a huge disappointment. We soon discovered that supermarkets don’t really have any available alternatives and certainly no staff able to discuss and answer questions about sulphite-free wines. There is a straightforward reason for this - quite simply organic wines are made by smaller producers and, in some cases, artisan wineries. This means they cannot produce enough wine to stock in larger stores and chain supermarkets. It became clear the market for organic wine was therefore online or in smaller stores – a realisation that led to the birth of our company and an opportunity to meet a gap in the wine market. The essence of organic wines is very simple: no chemicals are ever used in the vineyard for growth, maintenance or pest control. After that, we have the same product as conventional wines. The benefits that come along with this have been well documented in medical journals across the world. Organic wine is of course still alcoholic but, significantly, without the chemicals to interfere artificially with how your body works. It is therefore entirely accurate to say that organic wine is the ‘healthiest’ way of drinking and enjoying alcohol. Sulphites are everywhere - wine, food, cosmetics and even pet food. In wine, they are used to stabilise and preserve the product, lengthening its life artificially. Natural, organic winemaking ensures that none of these chemicals are ever added to what you will pour into your glass after a hard day’s work. This should be great news to the 2.2 million people in the UK who are known to be affected with issues relating to sulphites, including asthmatics and people suffering from allergies or high blood pressure. Organic Wine Club

My story

Personally, I have always had issues with appearance and image – with that sometimes comes concerns about body weight. You name the diet and I have tried it – the relentless search for the ideal body and perfect weight. Over the years, I have come to realise one thing about dieting, that is the use of artificial supplements, and lack of healthy, nutritious produce simply does not work. It is also interesting to think that in life we are all pushed to find the best deal, the best price and the cheapest contract. Ultimately, who are we really helping? Perhaps we should consider changing from shopping savvy to shopping sensibly. This is where companies like ‘Thought’ are helping the entire planet - what is good for you is good for your community and the wider environment too. I cannot help but make the same comparison with organic wine - it is better for you, it is healthier for your body, and it is much better for our environment. It takes at least three years to convert a conventional vineyard to organic standards and it is a quest to find the best quality and the best flavours as an alternative to consuming chemical-laden and inexpressive wines. In a nutshell, that’s why we created Organic Wine Club and why I share the same mission as ‘Thought’. We invite you to join us and make a difference to your life and our world. Cheers!   Thank you Alex! Hannah Organic Wine Club

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