Updated: Jul 1, 2020
We've been wondering for awhile about all the terms around wine...not dry, fruity, or earthy, but sustainable, organic, and biodynamic. So, we asked Singapore-based wine merchant Emma Clough of TTG Wines to help us tease out these classifications for eco-conscious wine.
Domaine du Dragon
Sustainable, organic, biodynamic, what does it all mean?
Sustainability refers to a range of practices that are not only ecologically sound, but also economically viable and socially responsible. Sustainable vineyards focus on water efficiency, natural pest management, soil health, energy efficiency and waste management. Many of the vineyards that we work with use only renewable energy, running their wineries on solar panels.
Organic wines are made from organically grown grapes. Organic farming avoids using non-natural, manufactured chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers, this also includes yeast. No sulfites may be added to these wines, although some that occur naturally are permitted.
Biodynamic farming was started in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic wine is made by farming all components of the vineyard as one whole entity, using natural materials and composts. Following the biodynamic calendar is another integral part of the process. Each day corresponds with one of the elements: earth, fire, air and water. Days are ordered by fruit days (preferable for grape harvesting), root days (pruning), leaf days (watering), and flower days, where the vineyard should be left alone.
If you’ve seen “biodynamic” and “organic” grouped together, there’s a reason for that. Biodynamic wines are made using organic practices, as they avoid pesticides and rely on compost, rather than chemical fertilizer. The majority of these wines are, therefore, also organic.
Try some of the beautifully-produced wines under these classifications, many from family-run vineyards, the next time you are looking for a unique bottle. You can be happy knowing you're doing good for the environment and yourself. Cheers to that!