Wine has been around for centuries, and over the years, its manufacturing methods have been adjusted to keep up with the growing demand and mass production requirements. As a result, some wines suffer in terms of quality and are unable to truly express the flavor and features of the grape. But California organic wines—especially those that come from certified organic vineyards and wineries—beg to differ.
You may be wondering if biodynamic wines are different from organic wines. The simple answer is yes. To understand their dissimilarities, it’s important to understand the four different types of wine in the market today and how each one is defined.
1. Organic wine
Organic wines have no added sulfites and are made using Certified Organic grapes in a certified organic vineyard. Certified Organic grapes are grown without herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers applied.
Do note that this definition is only applicable in the US. Other countries may have their own definitions of “organic wine”, and in some cases, they may contain carefully regulated and monitored sulfites to maintain quality and stability.
You can find the best organic wine from a CCOF certified organic winery. These wines are made without any harsh chemicals, resulting in whites that are vibrant and refreshing and reds that are soft and velvety.
2. Organically Grown
Some California organic wines are “organically grown”, which means that they were made with organic grapes, with carefully-regulated sulfites added.
3. Natural wines
These are sustainable or eco-friendly wines that are shown as being manufactured in a more conscious way compared to conventionally-manufactured wines. They are cleaner with fewer chemicals, with regulated SO2. That said, no official regulating third-party agencies are assessing the quality of this type of wine. This is why there are no assessment standards and no exact definition for ‘natural’ wine.
4. Biodynamic wine
Biodynamic wine is produced following the Demeter Institute's standards and is likewise certified by the same organization. The standard requires Certified Organic grapes with a planting and harvesting schedule, which is dictated by a biodiverse environment and moon cycles. This way, the vineyard becomes its own thriving ecosystem.
Biodynamic certification allows regulated SO2 levels in the wine. Although biodynamic wines are often more expensive than certified organic wines, their care of animal species and focus on the environment make them quite popular with environmentally-conscious consumers.
Going by these definitions, organic wines are derived from grapes grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Additionally, all the ingredients are certified.
On the other hand, biodynamic wine has a heavier emphasis on organic processes and ingredients, including the interconnectivity of the earth, the solar system, and our planet. Biodynamic farming practices were pioneered in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher. They involve the use of an astronomical calendar to time the stages of farming, harvesting, watering, and pruning. The vineyard is also allowed to ‘rest.’ You can easily identify biodynamic wine by its official seal from Demeter or Bidyvin on the label.
There are fewer additives in the best organic wine and there are no harsh chemicals. This results in a more refreshing and flavorful wine that simply tastes better, according to many experts. You’re more likely to notice and appreciate the grape’s flavor and varietal in organic wine, too.