What's the Difference in Organic Wines, Biodynamic Wines & Sustainable Wines?
By Simone FM Spinner, CWS, MH
Wine is complicated enough when you’re at the wine shop trying to grab a few bottles. Which ones will pair nicely with your meals? Are they worth this price and what are they rated? Now, top it off with trying to find an “Eco-friendly wine”?!?! It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up in the air and grab whatever is right in front of you. To help to demystify your Eco-friendly wine shopping experience we’ve broken down what to look for on the labels as well as what exactly it means if a wine is Organic, Biodynamic, Vegan and Sustainable. Cheers and happy sipping!
Organic wines are those that use naturally occurring yeasts, forbids the use of synthetic and petroleum based fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals, but allows for the use of sulphur and copper to prevent fungal growth. Organic wines are often Non-GMO.
To ensure you’re purchasing an organic wine, look for one of the following labels on the wine bottle.
Takes organic practices to the next level by adhering to the philosophy of Biodynamic farming according to natural cycles, ocean tides, and moon phases.
To ensure you’re purchasing Biodynamic Wines, look for one of the following labels on the wine bottle.
Forbids the use of animal products like egg-whites for fining post-fermentation particulates out of wines before bottling.
To ensure you’re purchasing Vegan Wines, look for one of the following labels on the wine bottle.
The Sustainable Farming and Winemaking tend to go hand in hand, but to clarify between the two…
Sustainable Farming: Generally adhere to organic practices but with flexibility. Occasionally, chemicals are allowed as long as the usage is minimal.
Sustainable Winemaking: Using lighter glass bottles, tetra packs, screw caps and sustainable natural cork enclosures, along with eco-friendly paper, inks and adhesives. The industry is moving toward shipping wine in kegs and restaurants are installing keg flow-systems specifically for wine.
Earth friendly pest control including less invasive chemicals, pest abatement with falconry, controlled bee migration, indeginous crop cover, hand-harvesting (requiring more farm workers), indigenous and hybrid grapes best matched to specific terroir. Earth friendly wineries also consider their impact across ecosystems and strive to be Salmon-Safe, build LEED Green Certified buildings, employ safe-water practices, and ecologically friendly shipping and marketing practices.
To ensure you’re purchasing a Sustainable Wine, look for one of the following labels on the wine bottle.
Winemakers are on the forefront of Eco-conscious agricultural and production techniques. Each time you choose a bottle of wine or basket of food, you are making a choice and sending a message to producers, vintners, farmers and vendors. Eco-friendly wines pay attention to clean and green farming, but also, green and sustainable vinification, packaging and distributing practices. These efforts go a long way to reduce wine’s carbon footprint while protecting precious ecosystems across the globe.
Climate is changing and wine is as well. It is long past time to take a chance on local and Eco-friendly wines. Cheers to sipping green!
By Simone FM Spinner, CWS, MH
Simone FM Spinner is a top-rated university wine lecturer and certified sommelier with thirteen advanced wine certifications, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in wine studies, and is pursuing her doctorate studying the socioeconomic and cultural effects of climate change on wine. She is a sought-after wine consultant, public speaker, and published author. She organizes wine events and international wine tours through her company Wine Rocks & Chasing Grapes™©. Her website is Wine RocksLLC.com™©