What Makes a Wine Biodynamic?

Are you looking for a way to make sure that your wine consumption is more conscious and eco-friendly? If so, you may have heard of biodynamic wine. But what is biodynamic wine, and how do you know if a wine is biodynamic?Biodynamic wine is made with a set of agricultural practices that consider the farm or vineyard as a solid organism. These practices take into account other factors when growing crops, such as the lunar calendar and astrology. Agriculture has more to do with all the vital elements of a vineyard: other plants, insects and animals, not just grapes.

Biodynamic wines may be more expensive and difficult to find, but if you find them, you can be sure that these are natural, low-intervention wines that contribute to a healthier planet. Both organic and biodynamic wines incorporate practices without the use of chemicals. To keep it as simple as possible, organic wine is made from organic grapes. Look for certified biodynamic logos. A Demeter-certified wine must comply with specific methods and practices to become biodynamic.

Some notable biodynamic wineries include Nicolas Joly (Loire), Sybille Kuntz (Moselle), Montinore Estate (Oregon), Benziger Winery (Sonoma), Domaine Leroy (Burgundy), Maison Chapoutier (Rhone) and Shinn Estate (New York).We know that biodynamic wine tends to be better for the environment, but how important is it in terms of taste? First of all, you're unlikely to know if a wine is biodynamic or not just by taking a sip. While some natural wines have a distinctive, juicy flavor profile that's easy to detect, the same can't be said for wines that come from grapes that have been grown biodynamically. However, there is some evidence that biodynamic wines may taste better than their conventionally grown counterparts. Studies conducted by UCLA researchers found that biodynamic wines obtained an average score of 11.8% higher than other wines that were not grown using biodynamic or organic methods. The most notable difference between American organic wines and European organic wines is the amount of sulfites allowed in the final product. Organic wines certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have stricter regulations than their EU counterparts, which can contain up to 100 parts per million sulfites. If you don't do any of that and you let the wine ferment naturally and age it without interfering too much, and you bottle it with just a little sulfur or maybe no sulfur, you qualify for natural wine.

For white wines, I can recommend Nikolaihof Wachau, one of the oldest wine estates in Austria, which has been practicing biodynamic winemaking since 1971, making it one of the longest biodynamic wineries in the world. According to Natural Merchants, many discourage drinking wine on root days, as this is when wine is believed to have a more subtle and earthy flavor, making it apparently more difficult to capture the pleasant fruity qualities. We all want to be more conscious consumers, and many of those who can afford to spend money on wine want to make sure that their money goes to producers who do their part to reduce their negative impact on the environment (and don't fill their wines with additives during the process).So if you're looking for an eco-friendly way to enjoy your favorite beverage without sacrificing taste or quality, look for certified biodynamic logos on your next bottle of wine.