NATURAL WINE, ORGANIC WINE, BIODYNAMIC WINE…
What a mess! Clarity once and for all
Less powerful hangovers, fewer chemicals, and kinder to the environment – no wonder organic wine is booming all around the world.
People have always drunk biodynamic and natural wine in the past, without knowing that it existed. According to the 2017 European Organic Wine Market Report, organic wine is on the rise among wine lovers and drinkers. There is a continuous increase of the organic wine market worldwide since the number of organic vineyards has almost tripled. From 2004 to 2011 – from 88,000 to 256,000 hectares.
Thanks to the increase in the number of young winemakers actively producing organically grown grapes to make their wines from, and an unexpected rise in hippies markets and festivals, beards and old school style tattoos, organic wines are finally finding their place in the world. Obviously, also the wine lovers are enjoining this moment.
An organic wine is a wine made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. – That’s it?
Absolutely not: the organic farming is an energy management system.
I mean that organic producers work with nature, rather than against it. Their goal is not to have healthy vine plants, but to create a healthy environment inside, above and below their vineyard.
For example, they do not fight pests, but they make their vineyard a hostile habitat for them, simply by spraying an infusion of water and nettles. Once, I met a producer who used an onions spray! Or, they let some animals, such as sheeps or horses, graze between the vine rows, eating weeds and naturally fertilizing the soil. Above all, their work aims to increase the biodiversity of their vineyard. In this way, the vineyard becomes more similar to a garden, a natural ecosystem, which is able to not have unwelcome guests or diseases, and to eliminate the need to use chemical remedies, potentially toxic (for vine plants and also drinkers like us).
WHAT IS A NATURAL WINE?
Natural wine is wine made without chemical and minimum technological intervention in growing grapes and making them into wine. The term is used to distinguish such wine from organic wine and biodynamic wine because of differences in cellar practices. All natural wines are, however, farmed organically.
Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming, which typically excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing. Biodynamic wine production uses organic farming methods, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, and treating the earth as “a living and receptive organism”
Friends and colleagues repeatedly ask me which is the difference between organic wine and biodynamic wine. Isn’t all wine “natural” anyway? This the most frequent question. People are always shocked to learn that most wines are conventionally farmed, produced with grapes that are sprayed with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, and manipulated technologically in the winery.
WHAT DOES BIODYNAMIC MEAN?
The concept of Biodynamics started in the 20’s with an Austrian philosopher named Rudolph Steiner. It is an interconnected kind of farming that, surely, also includes viticulture. Can you believe that the goal of Biodynamics is to balance vines, man, the Earth and planets? The concept behind is that when everything is healthy and naturally functional, nature (and, obviously, the Earth) gives back to us a “positive vibe”.
Let think about it, the biodynamic theory is not “new” at all.
Biodynamic wines must be certified. You have to check one of these logos on the back label:
In addition, someone will try to tell you that biodynamic wines don’t contain sulphites. This is a clear lie. Grape berries naturally contain sulphites, so a biodynamic wine will have always up to 10mg/l sulphites.
is it now clear what a natural wine is?
To better grasp the concept, take a look at the Fattoria Mani di Luna Winery’s products. In the next article, I will talk more about Fattoria di Luna, a new company, born from the dream of three young wine lovers.
Article by: Valentina Cinti – Certified Sommelier