Getting lost into the various organic type of certification or sustainable practices? We did too, but we knew the way winemakers work the soil, the vine and the wine was really important, even if they don't have the labels or certification. So, let's make it simple:
Organic wine approach prohibits the addition of pesticides and insecticide in the vines and, recently, proposes to reduce (very slightly) the inputs during wine making process. But it still allows acidification, deacidification, heat treatment, the addition of tannins, the addition of wood chips, sulfur, industrial yeasts and even promote the use of bouillie bordelaise (copper based) which affects the soils.
Biodynamic wine has lower doses of sulfur than in organic wines. It is a philosophy that goes beyond the organic wine approach. It was established by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). It goes back to the knowledge that winemakers and farmers had for centuries. Winemakers take a more holistic approach and enhance the care of the soil so that there is a better exchange with the vine. They can use herbal preparations on the soil and allow other plants to grow (such as buckwheat) to help the vine strengthen and co-develop better. They are proactive rather than reactive. They also use the lunar calendar to decide when to trim, plant, treat. Biodynamics allows the gluing of wine and filtration, chaptalization (addition of sugar) only for sparkling wines.
Natural wine combines these two methods but goes even further by allowing no inputs or techniques to modify the original juice, apart added sulfur to maintain or transport the wine... Some natural wines are made without any inputs nor added sulfites. Those ones can be difficult to transport and require very careful handling.
Sustainable or High Environmental Value wine
“Haute Valeur Environnementale” (or HVE) is a French three-tiered system, originally introduced in 2011 that encourages farms and vineyards to focus on increasing biodiversity, decreasing the negative environmental impact of their phytosanitary strategy (read: reducing the use of pesticides and fungicides), managing their fertilizer inputs and improving water management. Other countries are implementing this approach, and this has been our number one selection criterion for all our wines.
HVE is less strict in terms of total elimination of chemical inputs in the vineyard, but it emphasizes other points, such as the promotion of biodiversity, which, while it can be an important value for organic producers, is left out of the regulations and thus can easily be glossed over. This biodiversity element is particularly important, as we tend to forget that vineyards are a monoculture as nefarious as the rest, and we have lost much of the savoir faire, commonplace only a few generations ago, about maintaining biodiversity in a way that benefits all of the crops and animals, as well as the surrounding environment.
A no brainer!
Sustainable, natural, organic or biodynamic wines have much less sulfites and other chemicals than traditional wines. This is of high importance for your health and only means being fresh and ready the morning! Yes, no more headaches! It also mean that the producers are investing in a regenative agriculture process and support the future. So make it part of your choice and see our selection here.
We created a categorisation to summarise the above and advise your choice :
Organic Practices 🍀
Certified Organic 🍀🍀
Biodynamic Practices 🌙
Certified Biodynamic 🌙🌙
Zero added sulfites 🌼
Nature Wines 🌼🌼
High Environmental Value (HVE) level 1 🌎 level 2 🌎🌎 or level 3 🌎🌎🌎
You can find the categorisation under the wine notes under 'Viticulture'.