Wine 1 minute 22 February 2024

What is Organic Wine? Wine Access Breaks it Down

Drink green. Drink smart.

Restaurant wine lists have been increasingly adding a section for organic and biodynamic wines to their extensive cellars. From Bib Gourmands—check out our story here on how Una Pizza Napoletana pairs pizza with organic wine—to Three Star spots, chefs are discovering the nuance and flavor profiles of these vintages. But where does one start? Below, we enlisted the experts at Wine Access to help us decode the 101s of organic and biodynamic wine with delicious results.

What does being an organic wine mean?

“Organic wine” means a few different things. Most people tend to use it to refer to wine made from grapes that were farmed organically—so without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. The USDA classifies those wines as wines “made from organically farmed grapes” and reserves the term “organic wine” for wines made from organic grapes that do not receive any synthetic additions in the cellar, nor any added sulfur during vinification. Only a tiny, tiny percentage of bottles that are commonly called “organic wine” meet this standard. (In both cases, stringent certification standards apply to use the USDA Organic logo.) There are also other international entities with their own standards for organics, both in the cellar and the vineyard.

How do organic wines differ from biodynamic wines?

Biodynamics takes the principles of organics and applies various other practices, which are used in the vineyard based on the writings of Rudolf Steiner. They’re applied based on the phase of the moon and the time of year in the lunar calendar. They often include homeopathic treatments of herbs and minerals, made into teas in dynamized water.

Courtesy of Wine Access
Courtesy of Wine Access

How does one select a bottle?

The same way you’d select any other bottle of wine. We’d recommend signing up for Wine Access daily offers or joining one of our wine clubs. We also have a page on our website devoted exclusively to organically farmed wines. 

What are some organic wines you’d recommend from top wine regions?

Ridge Vineyards has been admirable in their commitment to organic viticulture, and their Pagani Ranch Zin comes from exceptional, 130-year old vines. In Bordeaux, Château Pontet-Canet has been a pioneer in organic and biodynamics in the vineyard, and their 2011 Pauillac shows off the complexity and nuance that’s made them a collectible star. We also love the Barolo from Luigi Oddero in Piedmont.

Courtesy of Wine Access
Courtesy of Wine Access

Hero image: Courtesy of Wine Access 

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