Organic vs Biodynamic vs Natural wines
Organic wine has officially existed for a very short time (2012). Before, it only took into account viticulture and not wine making. This approach now prohibits the addition of synthetic treatment and insecticide in the vines and, recently, proposes to reduce (very slightly) the inputs during the vinification. On the other hand, it allows acidification, deacidification, heat treatment, the addition of tannins, the addition of wood chips, sulfur, industrial yeasts …
Biodynamic wine pushes the organic wines approach further. The winemakers who use this method try to intensify the life of the soil so that there is a better exchange between the earth and the plant. For this, they infuse herbal preparations and pour it on the soil, it energizes it and helps the vine to strengthen and develop better (a kind of homeopathic prevention treatment). They also use the lunar calendar so that the plant, the soil and the lunar influences combine best. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), a thinker and philosopher, established the foundations of this movement also called anthroposophy.
Biodynamic allows the gluing of wine and filtration, chaptalization (addition of sugar) only for sparkling wines, but is allowing lower doses of sulfur than in organic wines.
Natural wine combines these two methods but goes even further by allowing no inputs or techniques to modify the original juice, apart from sulfur … There is also another section in natural wines even more “extreme”: wines without any inputs nor sulfites (SAINS). The issue with Natural wines and SAINS wines is that they can be very fragile.
The difference of amount of sulfites used by these methods goes as follow:
– Conventional red wine standards E.U: 160 mg of sulfites / liter of wine
– Red wine from organic farming: 100 mg of sulfites / liter of wine
– Demeter red wine (biodynamic): 70 mg of sulfites / liter of wine
– Red wine Association of Natural Wines: 30 mg of sulfites / liter of wine
A very representative image of the different additions that are possible according to the standards, realized by the association of wines S.A.I.N.S:
We hope this helps you understand a bit better what you are drinking. Please drink responsibly!