What is Organic and Biodynamic?

There is heavy interest and curiosity when it comes to organics and biodynamics, especially regarding wine.  There are many wineries that have been practicing, and many others scrambling to get certified.  But what exactly is organic and biodynamic wine?

Let's start with Organic Wine.  According to the FDA, this is defined as "a wine made from organically grown grapes and without any added sulfites".  The organically grown grapes, soil, and vines must be free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetic alteration, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind.  After the grapes are gathered and pressed, the juice must be handled organically as well, with no preservatives (sulfites) added.  The grapes themselves contain naturally occurring sulfites, as all living things do.  These, along with very sterile fermenting, storing, and bottling techniques will assure the wine's potential to age.  There are also wines which are labelled "Made with Organically Grown Grapes" in which they use organic fruit and add sulfites.

Now on to Biodynamic Agriculture- this envelopes not only organic practices, but adds much more.  The philosophy centers around the belief that the farm itself is a living organism, in which all parts: plants, animals, soil, and farmers coexist and depend on one another.  Recycling nutrients, crop rotation, and astronomical calendars are thrown into the mix of harmony.  It is the single most natural and pure interaction possible in man's relationship to nature.

All of these practices must be approved by certifying agencies in order to be labelled as such, with Demeter USA as the lone biodynamic certifier.

You can find a list of all known Biodynamic Wine producers on ForkandBottle.com

(Image courtesy of flickr)