Organic vs. Biodynamic vs. Natural Wine – What’s the Difference?

Published on June 27, 2019

Organic vs. Biodynamic vs. Natural Wine—What’s the Difference?

Increasingly, wine drinkers are conscious not only about their own health but also the health of the planet.  They are looking out for more ethical, sustainable and responsible products.  This has led to an expanding range of wines labelled as organic, biodynamic and natural wines.  But what do those terms really mean?

Organic wine is made from grapes grown using organic practices meaning no pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, and no herbicides.

Biodynamic wines are produced using an all-natural, holistic approach where planting and harvesting are carried out according to a lunar (biodynamic) calendar.  Biodynamic wines are also organic.

Natural wine has no legal definition but broadly refers to wines made without adding or subtracting anything in the cellar—no additives, no chemicals, no sulfur, no oak character from barrels, no filtering, no cultured yeasts, etc. All natural wines are farmed organically at a minimum and many growers are biodynamic in the vineyard as well.  In theory, natural wines are more alive and less manipulated.  Some natural wines are delicious, and some are outright weird. Be ready for unpredictability.

Note also that traditional winemaking involves clarifying and filtering the wine using animal products (milk or egg proteins for example) – wines that do not use animal products to do this are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Look out for the winemaking details on each Winecroft wine.   If you are looking for an organic white wine, try the superb  2016 Pieropan Calvarino Soave Classico from Veneto in northern Italy.  Alternatively, if you are looking for a red, try the delicious 2016 Cullen Mangan Vineyard biodynamic red from Margaret River in Western Australia.  Both are on the Winecroft club winelist.

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