Hello Janine
Monsieur Armel Joly
Monsieur Armel Joly

Organic wines 101

Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire, surtout s'il est bon!
Marcel Pagnol

Translation: When the wine is drawn, one has to drink it, especially if it's good! 

These days the choices of good wines are limitless and so are the labels. So, what makes one variety of organic wine better than another? In an effort to remain ecologically friendly and choose wines that are made from grapes grown free of pesticides, there is an ever growing interest in this market. I met with expert wine buyer, Armel Joly, from the adorable OCabanon restaurant on west 29th street in New York City. http://www.ocabanon.com/ 

He was kind enough to share his passion and knowledge of wine with me. His self-described function at OCabanon is "finding the wine you are going to love". Apart from their impressive wine selections, the restaurant is tastefully put together with a relaxed ambiance, set in an unlikely neighborhood near Penn station. It stands out like an oasis in the busy garment district, and the moment you enter, the traffic noise evaporates. It has a cozy feel, with small tables throughout and attentive servers to help you navigate the menu. OCabanon opened in 2013. The 3 owners: Michael Faure, Alexandre Mur and Armel Joly call it a "cave à manger", an "eating cellar", which is fitting since wine is at the forefront of the dining experience. Cabanon, by the way, is a French word meaning little hut, usually found in a garden. To quote their description:" In the South of France it's more than that. It’s a small place where you can cook, eat, talk, and have a little nap… " 

Armel is passionate about wine, it was a pleasure to speak with him about the differences between classic, organic, biodynamic and "natural and sustainable" wines. As in everything green, the emphasis is on "let nature take its course".  This came about with the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, who, in the 1920's wanted farmers to understand the importance of nature's course. In particular, he believed that lunar phases not only strongly affected ocean tides,but also influenced animal behavior and nature's harvest. The idea was to increase soil fertility in agriculture without the use of putting harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides . He encouraged a holistic approach to viticulture. This was the birth of Biodynamic agriculture and the beginning of a "give back to the earth" organic concept.

Click on the photo above to see the other photos and make sure to watch the little video clip. Armel is a warm and engaging speaker. I left one in French and one in English, enjoy! Your comments are important, so feel free to leave them and make sure to subscribe to my website!


click here to see the photos

I think it's cool Armel doesn't want pesticides being used to for the wines he sells. I also didn't know the lunar cycle could affect soil. Cool. Thank you Armel and Janine.


OCabanon is indeed a wonderful oasis in the urban jungle. Their wines are varied and unusual and the atmosphere is relaxed and unpretentious. I love it!

L.S. Duddy
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