Ever feel overwhelmed by all the talk of natural, organic, or Biodynamic? You are not alone! It can be very confusing.
As you wander the aisles at your local market and now even in clothing stores, more and more emphasis is being placed on these terms…But what do they mean and what’s the difference? Well, in some cases, there are actually government regulations and standards that decide if an item can be called one thing or the other. We’ll try to explain below…
100% Organic foods and beverages carry the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal (the certifying agency must be listed). In the case of wine, it indicates the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and has been monitored throughout its entire production process. Wine can contain only naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance) in less than 100 parts per million (ppm).
Organic foods and beverages also carry the USDA organic seal. In wine, it indicates the wine contains 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% need not be organic). Likewise, the certifying agency must be listed and the wine has the same sulfite requirements as 100% organic.
Wine Made from Organic Grapes or Made with Organic Ingredients means the wine contains a minimum of 70% organic ingredients. It can have artificial sulfites added, but it may not contain more than 100 ppm. These bottles will not carry the USDA organic seal.
Biodynamic is based on the precise practice and observation to create balance in nature, a concept originated by Rudolf Steiner. So, biodynamic wine is not only 100% organic, in addition, the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature. For instance, biodynamic wine growers may make their own compost and/or watch the stars and planets to time what they do. In the US, Demeter certifies farms, wineries, and wines as Biodynamic.
For wines lovers, there is good news! Great tasting organic wines are becoming widely available in United States.