Natural, organic and biodynamic wine: we hear more and more often about these types of wine, but what does it mean and what are the differences?
Characteristics of organic wine
Organic (or organic) wine is the only one of these three types recognized at the legislative level. Article 29, paragraph quater and quinquies of the European Regulation 203/2012 refers to the use of "certain products and substances" and "oenological practices and restrictions" that characterize the organic bino.
To be recognized as such, therefore, it must come from a vineyard with organic certification which guarantees the limitation of chemical treatments (herbicides and fungicides) and the use of organic fertilizers which are replaced with sulfur and copper sulphate.
The use of sulfur dioxide is very important for a wine to be defined as organic. According to the regulation there are limits of use for organic wines:
- 100mg/l for red wines with residual sugar less than 2g/l.
- 150mg/l for white and rosé wines with a residual sugar level of less than 2g/l
To recognize an organic wine it is sufficient to check that there is a leaf symbol on a green background on the label.
In terms of taste there are not huge differences with conventional wines, even if sometimes they are more "true" and expressive since they derive from soils worked in a less chemical way.
Characteristics of natural wine
Unlike organic wine, natural wine does not have legislation on the matter. In jargon, natural wines are those produced according to the "regulations" shared by authoritative associations of producers.
A natural wine is produced trying to respect the vine and the land as much as possible and making the most of natural resources for processing.
The main feature of these wines is that they are produced without chemical additives or added manipulations: there are no pesticides, the fertilizations are only organic and the harvest is totally manual.
Even in processing, fermentation must be spontaneous with yeasts already present in the grapes and in the winemaking environments.
Also in this case, as in the previous one, the elimination of sulfur dioxide is essential, which must not exceed 50 mg/litre for white, sparkling, rosé and sweet wines and not more than 30 mg/litre for red wines.
Recognizing this type of wine is more complex: there are some labels such as ViniVeri and VinNatur that bring together many producers of natural wines but since there is no legislation, there is no real certification for these wines.
Characteristics biodynamic wine
Also in this case there is no legislation to define the characteristics of biodynamic wine but the production is regulated by the Demeter association.
The underlying philosophy for the production of biodynamic wine is to respect Nature as much as possible, respecting its cycles and lunar phases.
The production of wine, therefore, follows a biodynamic agriculture which does not stop only at the vineyard but obviously also continues in the cellar.
Here too, one of the aspects producers focus on is the quantity of sulfur dioxide that can be used: 70 mg/l in red wines, 90 mg/l in white wines and 60 mg/l in sparkling wines.
Also in this case it is very difficult to identify biodynamic wines. The Demeter logo on the label is a valid help for recognizing a wine produced in this way but it is not always valid.