What Are Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines? You Need to Try Them

What Are Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines? You Need to Try Them

Wine has been a part of human culture for centuries, bringing joy and pleasure to all who indulge in it. However, in recent years there has been a growing interest in natural, organic, and biodynamic wines. So what are they?

The History of Biodynamic Winemaking

Biodynamic winemaking has its roots in the teachings of Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner. In the 1920s, Steiner began advocating for a holistic approach to agriculture, which included farming based on lunar cycles and the use of natural preparations to enhance soil health. This approach was adopted by some winemakers in the 1980s and has been gaining popularity ever since.

One of the key principles of biodynamic winemaking is the use of cover crops, which are planted between the rows of grapevines to improve soil fertility and prevent erosion. These cover crops also provide a habitat for beneficial insects and microorganisms, which can help control pests and diseases naturally.

Another important aspect of biodynamic winemaking is the use of compost and other natural fertilizers, which are made from materials such as cow manure, plant matter, and minerals. These fertilizers are applied in specific quantities and at specific times of the year, based on the lunar calendar and other natural cycles, to ensure optimal soil health and grapevine growth.

How Natural and Organic Wines Differ from Conventional Wines

Natural and organic wines are made without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. The grapes are grown using natural methods, and the wine is fermented with the natural yeast present on the grape skins. This results in a wine that is more expressive of its terroir and has a more natural flavor profile. Conventional wines, on the other hand, are often made using a combination of chemicals and winemaking techniques that mask the true flavors of the grapes.

In addition to being better for the environment, natural and organic wines also tend to have lower levels of sulfites, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Additionally, many natural and organic winemakers prioritize sustainable and ethical practices, such as using renewable energy sources and paying fair wages to their workers. By choosing natural and organic wines, consumers can support these values and enjoy a more authentic and flavorful wine experience.

The Benefits of Drinking Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines

Not only are natural, organic, and biodynamic wines better for the environment, but they are also better for our health. They contain fewer harmful chemicals, have higher levels of antioxidants, and are often made with lower levels of sulfites. They are also often more delicious, with a unique flavor profile that is a reflection of the terroir and the winemaker's approach to winemaking.

Another benefit of drinking natural, organic, and biodynamic wines is that they support small, independent winemakers who prioritize sustainable and ethical practices. By choosing these types of wines, you are supporting a more diverse and environmentally conscious wine industry.

Additionally, natural, organic, and biodynamic wines often have a lower alcohol content than conventional wines. This means you can enjoy a glass or two without feeling the negative effects of high alcohol consumption, such as headaches and dehydration. It also means you can savor the flavors and aromas of the wine without being overwhelmed by the alcohol content.

The Role of Soil Health in Biodynamic Winemaking

Biodynamic winemaking places a great emphasis on soil health. Instead of using synthetic fertilizers, biodynamic winemakers use natural preparations, such as compost and manure, to enhance soil health. This results in healthier vines and grapes, and ultimately a better wine.

Furthermore, biodynamic winemakers also pay close attention to the lunar calendar and the alignment of the stars. They believe that these cosmic forces have an impact on the growth and development of the vines. By planting and harvesting according to the lunar calendar, biodynamic winemakers aim to maximize the potential of their grapes and produce wines that are truly reflective of their terroir.

The Use of Alternative Fermentation Methods in Biodynamic Winemaking

Biodynamic winemakers often use alternative fermentation methods, such as whole-cluster fermentation and native yeast fermentation. These methods result in a more natural expression of the grapes and are often key to the unique and complex flavors found in biodynamic wines.

Whole-cluster fermentation involves fermenting the grapes with the stems and leaves still attached, which can add additional tannins and flavors to the wine. Native yeast fermentation, on the other hand, uses the naturally occurring yeast on the grapes and in the winery environment to ferment the wine, rather than adding commercial yeast. This can result in a more diverse and complex range of flavors and aromas in the finished wine.

The Importance of Sustainability in Organic Biodynamic Winemaking

Sustainability is a key component of natural, organic, and biodynamic winemaking. By using natural practices, biodynamic winemakers promote biodiversity and protect the health of the soil and surrounding ecosystem. This ensures that the vineyard can continue to produce high-quality grapes for generations to come.

Furthermore, sustainable winemaking practices also have a positive impact on the local community and economy. By reducing the use of harmful chemicals and promoting natural pest control methods, biodynamic winemakers create a safer and healthier environment for workers and nearby residents. Additionally, sustainable winemaking can attract eco-conscious consumers who are willing to pay a premium for products that align with their values, which can benefit the local economy and support small businesses.

How to Identify and Choose Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines

Identifying natural, organic, and biodynamic wines can be a challenge. Look for wines that are labeled as organic or biodynamic, or that use natural winemaking practices. It can also be helpful to ask your local wine merchant for recommendations.

When choosing natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, it's important to consider the environmental impact of the winery. Look for wineries that prioritize sustainability and use eco-friendly practices, such as solar power or water conservation methods. Additionally, consider the region where the grapes were grown and the winery's commitment to preserving the local ecosystem. By choosing wines from environmentally conscious wineries, you can enjoy your favorite wines while also supporting a healthier planet.

Understanding the Certification Process for Biodynamic Wines

Biodynamic wines are often certified by organizations such as Demeter or Biodyvin. These organizations set standards for biodynamic winemaking and ensure that the wine meets those standards. However, not all biodynamic winemakers choose to be certified, so it's important to do your research when looking for biodynamic wines.

It's worth noting that the certification process for biodynamic wines can be quite rigorous. In addition to meeting organic farming standards, biodynamic winemakers must also adhere to specific practices such as using natural preparations and following lunar cycles. The certification process can take several years and requires regular inspections to ensure ongoing compliance. While certification is not necessary to produce high-quality biodynamic wines, it can provide consumers with an added level of assurance that the wine they are purchasing is truly biodynamic.

Exploring the Different Types of Biodynamic Wine Production Methods

There are several different methods of biodynamic winemaking, each with their own unique approach and philosophy. These include the preparations, lunar cycle, and spiritual practices. Exploring the different types of biodynamic wine production methods can be a fascinating insight into the deep respect biodynamic winemakers have for the environment and each step in the winemaking process.

One of the most important aspects of biodynamic winemaking is the use of preparations, which are made from natural materials such as herbs, minerals, and animal manure. These preparations are used to enhance the soil and promote healthy plant growth, which in turn leads to better quality grapes and wine. Biodynamic winemakers also pay close attention to the lunar cycle, using the phases of the moon to guide their planting, pruning, and harvesting activities.

In addition to these practical methods, biodynamic winemaking also incorporates spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer. This holistic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of all living things and seeks to create a harmonious relationship between the vineyard, the winemaker, and the consumer. By exploring the different types of biodynamic wine production methods, wine enthusiasts can gain a deeper appreciation for the art and science of winemaking, as well as the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

The Influence of Lunar Cycles on Biodynamic Winemaking

Biodynamic winemakers believe that the phases of the moon can have a significant impact on the quality and flavor of the wine. Certain phases are believed to be better for planting, pruning, and harvesting, and winemakers will often schedule each step of the winemaking process according to the lunar cycle.

Additionally, some biodynamic winemakers also take into account the position of the moon in relation to the zodiac signs. They believe that the different zodiac signs can affect the taste and aroma of the wine. For example, when the moon is in a fire sign like Aries or Leo, it is believed that the wine will have a bolder and spicier flavor. On the other hand, when the moon is in an earth sign like Taurus or Virgo, the wine is believed to have a more grounded and earthy taste.

Comparing the Flavor Profiles of Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines to Traditional Wines

The flavor profiles of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines are often vastly different from traditional wines. They are often more complex, with a more pronounced expression of the terroir and the winemaker's approach. Different winemakers and regions will produce vastly different flavor profiles, making biodynamic wines a fascinating and varied category.

One of the reasons for the unique flavor profiles of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines is the use of different farming and winemaking practices. For example, biodynamic winemakers often use herbal and mineral preparations in their vineyards, which can affect the flavor of the grapes. Additionally, natural and organic winemakers may use different yeasts and fermentation methods, which can also impact the final taste of the wine. These differences in approach and technique contribute to the diversity and complexity of these types of wines.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Natural Organic Biodynamic Wines

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, such as that they are all unfiltered or that they are all funky and weird-tasting. However, these are just that, myths. Natural, organic, and biodynamic wines come in many different forms and flavors. It's important to do your research and taste widely to fully understand and appreciate the diversity of this category of wines.

In conclusion, natural, organic, and biodynamic wines represent a fascinating and varied category of wines that offer a unique expression of the terroir and the winemaker's approach. They are better for the environment and our health and offer a more natural and complex flavor profile than traditional wines. Understanding and exploring this category of wines can be a rewarding and enjoyable journey for any wine lover.

One common misconception about natural, organic, and biodynamic wines is that they are more expensive than traditional wines. While it's true that some of these wines can be pricier due to the smaller production and more labor-intensive methods, there are also many affordable options available. In fact, some natural and organic wines can be found at similar price points to conventional wines. It's important to remember that the cost of a wine is not always an indicator of its quality or sustainability.

© Brave in Bloom, 2023