Biodynamic, Organic, Sustainable - Oh My!
Trendy or legit? Do terms like biodynamic or organic mean anything for the wine?
If you’re shopping for wine often (and you know we do), you’re probably seeing an increase in the number of wines labeled “organic” or “natural.” But being stated on the label - or not - does not always mean what’s in the bottle is what you expect. Smaller producers don’t want to pay the fees associated with labeling wines in those categories, and the requirements to certify may not be what you expect.
We don’t require our #BrilliantWines to be designated “organic” or “natural” or some other industry term to validate it’s winemaking process. We make the effort to meet the winemakers, understand their winemaking process, and ensure a minimal level of intervention. We want the wines to express the region, the terrior, and the style of each winemaker. These kinds of wines are the ones that tell stories in every sip. They transport you in time, and connect you to a place or person.
Regardless of if it’s on the label, it’s good to know what these terms mean. For example wines from Krásná hora are produced from grapes that are biodynamically farmed - they just didn’t pay to say so on the label. So what does that mean? Thanks to the good people at Beverage Daily, here are brief definitions of of select categories. For the full category list and definitions, check out the original article.
Organic: broadly speaking, organic wine is wine produced from grapes that have been grown organically, often without the use of pesticides or other synthetic materials, and where the winemaking methods employed adhere to the rules and regulations of an organic certifying body. Precise definitions vary from market to market.
Biodynamic: an extended version of organic wine, first developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, stimulating health of the vine through homeopathic means to avoid disease. Organic principles apply, as so some additional practices such as following the lunar calendar.
Natural wine: farmed organically and made without adding or removing anything in the cellar (or use of processing aids, heavy manipulation, etc). Creates a ‘living wine’.
Orange and skin contact wine: white wines made in the same way as red wine, in that skins are not removed and left to ferment, often resulting in an orange hue.
Sustainably-produced wine: generally considered to be produced in an environmentally-free manner or using grapes which have been grown with minimum chemical input and an effort to maintain the quality of the land. But there is no consistent definition.
So regardless of your preference for biodynamic, sustainable, or something else - Cheers!