With more and more people interested in the idea of clean eating, it is no surprise that these concepts are increasingly overlapping into the world of wine, with a wealth of wines labelled ‘organic’, ‘natural’ or ‘biodynamic’ now available. We take a look at these three main types of wine classification for health-conscious wine lovers, and the differences between these drinks.
Natural wine is seeing a rapid growth in its popularity, as it allows you to enjoy a wine without the inclusion of any additives or unnatural interventions from the winemakers. While natural wines are seeing a rise in popularity now, especially from vegan wine lovers, it is certainly not a new type of wine. Natural wines have been created and enjoyed for thousands of years, with the orange wine of Georgia and Armenia being a prime example.
Vineyards that produce natural wine will only be able to use organic fertilisers, as no chemical intervention is allowed in the production of such wines. When fermenting the grapes and wine, nothing can be added to the wine to promote the fermentation process. The wine will also not be filtered or fined, so will keep any of the naturally occurring yeasts and is likely to contain a fair amount of sediment. Likewise, the flavour will not be altered by the addition of enzymes or by changing the levels of acidity, sugar or tannins. Natural winemaking processes even extend as far as to the technology used. Unlike standard wines, the grapes used for most natural wines will be harvested and sorted by hand.
There are not yet any legal definitions for natural wine, but some countries will have rules set out regarding the production of natural wine, ensuring that winemakers are regulated.
Organic wine is that produced from grapes that were grown organically on an organic farm. Due to this, strict rules are in place for classifying a wine as organic. For example, organic wine is the only wine type that can carry legal certification, so will feature the organic logo seal on the bottle to confirm it as such. This will signify that wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and that no synthetic chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides or fungicides have been used.
Biodynamic winemaking practices seek to balance the vineyard with nature, considering natural influences such as the lunar cycle. The vineyard is seen as an ecosystem and to get the best quality wine, it must be respected with consideration of other natural cycles. For example, the lunar cycle can be used to determine when it is best for harvesting the grapes. Alongside this, all biodynamic wine will be made free from chemicals, instead using herbal sprays or manure as a way to promote vine growth. Due to this, biodynamic wines are also organic and so will often feature a logo declaring it as such.
Are Natural, Biodynamic and Organic Wines Better?
Of course, this is all down to personal taste; however, there are many arguments in favour of choosing one of these wine types. For one, making a good wine that does not involve chemicals in its production process is far more complex and difficult than creating a standard wine. The grapes will be given more attention and care, as things like pesticides cannot be relied on for the production of natural or organic drinks. This may mean that the quality of the wine will be higher, although it is also therefore likely to be a little more expensive than a standard bottle.
Are there any bottles of natural, organic or biodynamic wine on your wine rack? Do you enjoy them more or less than a standard wine? Let us know by leaving a comment below!