When it comes to choosing wine, you have many options. There are a variety of styles, and it’s also possible to select wines made from grapes grown organically, biodynamically, or naturally. But while you may think these terms describe the exact wine, there are actually significant differences between organic and biodynamic wines. Discover the best info about Wine Shopping.
The critical difference is that winemakers who label their products as organic or biodynamic must adhere to stricter standards during the vineyard and making process than those who use a less stringent label. These include a focus on not using any synthetic fertilizers or herbicides and using only certified non-GMO seeds. Some winemakers go even further, implementing the methods promoted by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, which emphasize the vineyard as an independent, sustainable ecosystem. This involves a calendar of planting activities that align with lunar cycles and the application of unique soil treatments, such as the burying of cow horns filled with blossom and nettle extracts.
Organic wines are those that meet the strictest of regulations set out by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). This includes growing grapes organically and only using organic ingredients during the making process. Additionally, they can’t contain any additives, including sulfites. Winemakers that make organic wines are required to be fully certified by a country-specific body, such as the Soil Association in the UK, to ensure that they comply with all of the country’s requirements.
Biodynamic wine, on the other hand, goes beyond organic requirements to encompass a holistic approach to the vineyard and winemaking. This approach was developed in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, and it involves a number of specific farming techniques. These include using an astronomical calendar to time activities such as harvesting, watering, and pruning, as well as allowing the vineyard to “rest.” Winemakers who produce biodynamic wines are required to be fully certified by Demeter, an international organization that represents 45 countries. They can be recognized by a green square with the word Biodynamic or Biodyvin written on it.
Natural wines are wines that small-scale, independent winemakers have made and adhere to a bare minimum of processing without any added yeasts or additives and with no sulfites. These are usually aged in oak, although some producers use cement or glass to keep the wines as “natural” as possible.
Because the term is largely unregulated, there are wines on the market that are sold as natural that don’t necessarily adhere to these criteria. However, as the popularity of these wines has risen in recent years, more producers are choosing to follow this style of winemaking. As a result, we’re seeing more bottles with the label natural on them that are either organic or biodynamic or at least meet the minimum requirements for both certifications. It’s essential to ask your sommelier or wine merchant for clarity when it comes to this distinction.