Welcome to Organic Wine Club. It can be a bit overwhelming to decide between so many different wines, let alone to figure out whether to go for organic, vegan, biodynamic or natural wines with no added sulphites.
This short memo is to guide you through the differences and also to underline advantages of these products.
Organic wine is made from grapes grown organically. Organic farming presumes that no harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers are allowed to grow the grapes. No artificial or synthetic preservatives were used, no colours added and no agents added to alter the taste; obviously nothing genetically modified.
Organic certification also means that the whole process is monitored, preservatives are kept to the minimum and growing environment and winemaking processes are compliant to the organic standards.
Would you agree with our common sense statement that that less toxins and less harmful substances will mean healthier you? That is how you can care for yourself better (and the environment too!).
Look for EU organic logo (green leaf with stars), UK Soil Association or country-specific organic certification logos (i.e. French 'Agriculture Biologioque')
Organic wines are richer in nutrients & antioxidants* with no harmful pesticide residue. This is a great benefit for every wine drinker.
*Organic wine benefits as per Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Southampton, University of Rome’s Clinical Nutrition, University of California at Davis and University of Newcastle.
We have been writing much more about organic viticulture and organic wines on our Read Me blog, head to our dedicated organic section if you want to learn more.
Organic Wine Club offers a selection of organic wine club cases for everyone who wants to discover these wines for themselves. Our collection also include 'Taste of Organic Wine Club' cases, which consist of our bestselling and most loved wines.
Biodynamic movement has started before the organic one and, simply put, is similar to organic, but more of a philosophy. Only natural herbal treatments are allowed for the growers, every manipulation is in sync with lunar calendar. Biodynamic growers uses maximum synchronisation with nature and aim to create a sustainable ecosystem for any grower. Find Demeter logo for certified biodynamic wines.
This term puzzles a lot of people, how a product made of grapes can be not suitable for vegans? The answer is very simple - winemakers may decide to use animal derived materials (isinglass made of fish bones, cows' intestines, dairy, eggs) for filtration, fining and clarification of the wines.
It is not just to support vegan movement as such, but also to safeguard ourselves (i.e. who suffers from dairy or egg intolerance) from unwanted allergic reaction.
We have created very strict organic wine cases that consist of vegan wines that were not fined or filtered using animal materials and definitely no dairy or eggs. See more at our Organic & Vegan Wine Club Cases page.
This group of wines needs much more explanation and clarity as some of the terms are a bit vague, lacking certification and proper legal definition.
Natural wines are such made with minimal interventions in the winery, which in most cases means using indigenous yeasts, not interrupting fermentation and not using additional sulphur to stabilise the wine and prevent it from oxidation. Sulphites are preservatives and can exist in the wine in two forms - naturally occurring and added in the winemaking process. First ones are harmless and exist in minimal quantities (those depend on the grape variety and soil). Second, added sulphites, could be a problem for allergy sufferers and are noticeable to asthmatics when the levels exceed 45 mg/l.
Organic certification will only guarantee you levels below 100 mg/l. This is where the first part of confusion lies. Not all organic wines are those with no added sulphites.
Second issue lies with the legal requirement that every product that has sulphites' levels above 10 mg/l needs to have 'contains sulphites' on the label. It does not take into account whether they are added or natural.
As a result, this product category appears to be confusing for customers as there are contradicting statements. Look for 'no sulphites added' or 'only naturally occurring sulphites' on the label (or their equivalents in different languages: 'sin sulfitos anadidos', 'senza solfiti aggiunti', 'sans sulfites ajoutes').
We at Organic Wine Club decided to simplify things and created two different wine categories:
We hope this helps to avoid any confusion. Please have a look at more information on wine allergy, wine intolerance and sulphites if you want to learn more.