Organic Wine, Sustainable, Biodynamic: Is There a Difference?
When you’re on the hunt for the perfect bottle of wine, are there other qualifications you consider? Do you look for organic wines, sustainable options, natural wine, or biodynamic?
We asked our Bright Cellars’ community what style of wine they prefer, and here are the results:
- 37.3% of respondents chose conventional wine.
- 27.2% of respondents said they prefer sustainable wine.
- 17.1% of respondents selected organic wine.
- 12.7% of respondents prefer natural wine.
- 5.7% of respondents said they like biodynamic wine.
We also asked our Bright Cellars Instagram community and got some honest responses:
- Conventional, but I definitely want to explore the other kinds!
- I didn’t even know there were so many to choose from!
While you might feel safe and cozy in the conventional wine category, there are many benefits to incorporating other styles of wine into your repertoire. The environment will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself!
Comparing Apples to Grapes
We have to be honest. When it comes to classifying sustainable, organic, natural, and biodynamic wine, the certifications are kind of all over the place.
Some are loosely defined, while others are more rigid. Some regulations are state-specific, while others vary by country. Because of this, it’s difficult to compare apples to, well, grapes.
Try not to think of these titles as one or the other. Instead, picture a venn diagram in which sustainable, organic, natural, and biodynamic wine overlap!
With the looming presence of climate change hanging above our heads, sustainability has gained traction.
In its simplest form, sustainability is reducing waste during winemaking. Think resource management and conservation, whether that be water, energy, soil, or other resources.
As climate change continues to threaten our planet, more wineries will put sustainable practices into place.
Organic wine is simply produced with organically grown grapes. All additives must also be organic, and there can be no GMO’s, which includes sulfites.
This all sounds hunky dory, but this is actually a huge dilemma with organic wine. Sulfur is currently the best natural preservative for wine, so the removal of this element greatly affects the wine’s shelf life and flavor.
At its core, biodynamic wine is a holistic approach to viticulture. Biodynamics center around the idea of connectedness and have been used in agriculture for more than a century.
When you think biodynamic wine, think “wine grown by the moon.” Biodynamic vineyards use a moon-based calendar to determine when they should plant, harvest, prune, and water.
It’s actually pretty riveting stuff. For example, you’d harvest on a “fruit day” but water on a “leaf day.” If you’d like to read more, check out our blog post What is Biodynamic Wine?
Natural wine is the unfiltered version of what we know to be wine.
However, it’s kind of the wild west. In some cases, it tastes more like a sour beer or kombucha than actual wine. Natural wine technically isn’t even a real certification or regulation.. it’s just something people say!
In general, the grapes are grown by small-scale producers with no added yeast during fermentation, no additives, and no sulfites. It’s usually quite cloudy and fairly unstable, so it should always be refrigerated and stored away from light.
IN VINO FINITO
Did you miss out on this week’s survey but want to get in on the next? Subscribe to our daily newsletter, Glass Half Full. It’s chock-full of fun wine facts, wine and food pairing tips, cocktail recipes, and more!
Already subscribed? Come back every Monday for another wine-inspired survey question!