Wine… red, white, …or GREEN?

Organic Vs. Biodynamic Wine
By Solvie Karlstrom Published: January 27, 2010
Selecting the right year, grape varietal and wine region used to be options enough for picking the perfect wine. But as more and more eco-friendly wines are finding reknown among wine enthusiasts and more and more green claims are gracing bottle labels, wine drinkers who prefer a greener varietal can now add eco-certifications to their list of preferred characteristics. Like the difference between an Australian Shiraz and a Californian Syrah, eco-certifications for wine have subtle, yet meaningful, differences. Before picking out the perfect pairing for your next candle-lit meal, read on to find out which label, USDA certified-organic or Demeter USA certified-biodynamic, indicates the better bottle.
USDA Organic
With 23,430,900 pounds of synthetic pesticides applied to wine grape crops in California alone in 2007, it’s no wonder that growing numbers of wine drinkers now prefer a more natural grape juice. And an organic label on the bottle is a good indicator that the grapes are greener. USDA certified organic ingredients come from farms and vineyards that have refrained from using herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds for at least three years. But since USDA organic standards allow the consumer product to come in varying shades of green, it can be difficult for the consumer to know just how natural the wine is. Here’s a breakdown of the different claims you'll find on bottle labels:

•“100% Organic”: The wine is made from 100% certified organic ingredients, processed without synthetic agents and contains no added sulfites; naturally occuring sulfite levels in these wines are between 10 and 20 ppm. The label will bear the USDA organic seal, with the phrase “100% Organic”.
•“Organic”: The wine is made with 95% certified organic ingredients, and contains no added sulfites. Winemakers must prove that certified organic ingredients aren’t available for the remaining 5% of ingredients. The label will bear the USDA organic seal.
•“Made with Organic Grapes” or “Made with Organic Ingredients”: The wine is made with 70% certified organic ingredients, and sulfites can be added up to 100 parts per million. The label cannot bear the USDA organic seal.

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