Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wines | What Does it All Mean?

In the wine world there’s a lot of talk about organic, biodynamic and natural wine. But often, they don’t come with a whole lot of explanation.

Been wondering exactly what these terms mean and whether you should trying these wines for yourself? Let us help.

Organic

Photo. Closeup on bunches of black grapes in vineyards, Tuscany, Italy ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Simply put, organic wine is wine made with organically grown grapes.

That means that they are all-natural and grown without any chemicals (though they may contain natural additives). This isn’t quite the end of the matter though. When it comes to wine, organic doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere.

Organic vineyards at the Hecht & Bannier winery, France

Organic vineyards at the Hecht & Bannier winery, France

 

In America, organic wine must be made with grapes grown naturally without any added sulphites. Europe, on the other hand, allows sulphites in their organic wine. Sulphites are added simply to preserve wine, and aren’t necessarily anything to worry about if they aren’t abused.

It’s also worth noting that organic certification itself is something of a grey area; certification can be costly and difficult for small wineries to get hold of, meaning that many wines are organic in everything but name. Labels aren’t everything!

Biodynamic

While organic winemaking specifies the need for all-natural products regardless of where they are produced (meaning they can, for example, purchased from external suppliers), biodynamic winemaking takes things one step farther and stipulates that everything should be produced by the winemakers from their estate’s own natural resources.

 

Biodyanmic vineyards in the Pares Balta winery, Spain

Biodyanmic vineyards in the Pares Balta winery, Spain

 

It comes down to a worldview that places an emphasis on natural interconnectedness. What does this have to do with wine? Simple – a biodynamic winemaker would tell you that the wine in your glass is deeply connected to the part of the natural world which it came from.

Natural

You’ll have probably heard of natural wine, which takes these principles even further. There isn’t really an official, regulated definition. It effectively means wine made from grapes that fit all the criteria mentioned above, but with no additives. That means no sulphites, and no additional yeast (meaning that fermentation occurs with native, naturally occurring yeasts).

These wines are known for their strange, funky flavours. They’re definitely an acquired taste, with less fruit-forward profiles and a more yeasty character. They pack a smooth, zippy punch that might take some getting used to, but which more and more people are growing to love.

Why drink it?

Organic wines available on the BottlesXO app

Organic wines available on the BottlesXO app

 

Basically, personal taste. If you prefer to drink something all natural, crafted lovingly by winemakers, they are a good (though not the only) way to go. The lack of additives and preservatives can lead to some interesting flavors too, especially in the case of biodynamic and natural wines, which can be fun for adventurous palates.

But, mostly, it’s just good to know what those words on the sticker mean!

Feel like trying something new for yourself? Click here to download the BottlesXO app and browse our unique range of wines.