Great wines are made in the vineyard!
Organic, biodynamic and natural winemaking is a blessing to the soil keeping it healthy and sustainable, resulting in a higher quality grapes, hence better wines.
In the recent years, the demand for organic, biodynamic and natural wines has increased significantly. The primary drive for this is the global concern over the damage caused by intensive farming using chemicals. Secondly, it is a result of consumers’ shift towards greener and healthier life style as well as their urge to be closer to Mother Nature.
Nowadays, organic, biodynamic and natural wines are all produced with a focus on sustainability and minimal intervention in the vineyard and winemaking process. Still, there are some key differences between these methods.
Besides being ethical, sustainable and nature-friendly, some wine lovers are convinced that the “clean” wines taste better revealing the whole beauty of the terroir. While we may not be able to test this through our post, we shall certainly dive deeper into each of these styles.
What Makes Wines Organic?
Organic viticulture takes care of soil fertility, maintains biodiversity and respects the surrounding environment’s natural cycles and processes and we love it!
On the other hand, organic winemaking has its specific restrictions and regulations which slightly vary from one country to another. Almost all prohibit the use of any artificial fertilizer or synthetic chemicals for pest control in the vineyard as well as any GMOs (a.k.a. genetically modified organisms) in the cellar.
This production method therefore requires extra care at each stage of the grape growing or cellar activities, since the winemaker has very restricted number of solutions and no access to synthetic chemicals. Additionally, it often leads to lower yields, as the only permitted fertilizers are of natural or organic origin.
But how can we check if the wine is organic?
The short answer to it is to look out for certification. Have you ever noticed a little green leaf or another green logo on the back of a wine bottle indicating Bio, Eco or Organic?
This is to assure the consumers that the wine was produced under certain regulations. If you are inspired there is even a quick guide to different types of certifications. Be assured, the wineries go through multiple inspections at every stage of the production. Only those that meet all the requirements can use the “green sign.”
The Mystery of Biodynamic Wines
Biodynamic wine making is based on Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner’s teachings. It is more sophisticated and “eccentric” notion. It combines the main practices of organic viticulture with astronomical calendar, taking into consideration the gravitational influence of the Moon and constellations.
Moreover, each calendar day represents earth, fire, air and water element. Days are organized by fruit, root, leaf and flower days, and they are dedicated to certain vineyard operations.
However, the “magic” doesn’t end here. There are also strict guidelines on making fertilizer preparations. One example is cow horn filled with manure compost and buried in the vineyard throughout the winter. After winter, vintners dig out the horns and spread the compost in the vineyard. The farmers believe, it improves the soil structure and microbiota, regulates the pH and helps seed germination.
Similar to organic, biodynamic wines also have their rules, regulations, certification and inspection procedures. The most reputable certification body is Demeter International, already in use by 45 countries.
The Philosophy of Natural Wines
Although often used interchangeably to describe organic and/or biodynamic wines, in all truthfulness, natural wines have deep philosophy advocated by the movement of farmers and winemakers against the industrialization of winemaking. It was, and still is, a shout out for sustainable and mindful agriculture.
Natural wines, also known as low – intervention wines, are from vineyards that are farmed organically and are produced without adding or removing anything during vinification.
The fermentation occurs spontaneously, with wild yeasts that already exist on the grape skin.
Usually, natural wines are unfiltered and unfined too.
Considering this, please prepare to have some sediments or hazy appearance in the glass. It is totally normal for this style.
There are no international legal standards for this notion. However in March of 2020 France was (and still is) the first country to give a legal recognition to Natural Wine and designate it under “vin méthode nature”.
What Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines have in common and how do they differ?
These three notions can seem complicated and confusing. However, the core idea behind each of them is simple. In short these are their main similarities and differences.
Organic wines are from grapes that have been grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Organic winemakers avoid using preservatives and synthetic additives.
Biodynamic farming is based on the idea that the vineyard is a self-contained ecosystem. The winemakers must work to balance the vineyard’s soil, plants, and animals to achieve harmony. Additionally, they plan each process in the vineyard and cellar according to the lunar calendar.
Natural wines are from organically grown grapes. made with minimal intervention from the winemaker. This means that the winemaker avoids adding or removing anything during the vinification.
At WINE ORIGINS we have a wide range of wines that come from organically grown grapes. We also provide a selection of natural wines – bubbles, whites, amber and orange wines, roses and reds. You can find them in the “Buy Wine” section of our shop. Sourced from sustainable, family – owned wineries across the world and made by passionate nature lovers, these wines indeed represent the best any terroir can give.
Here’s to healthier nature and greener lifestyle!