Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids
Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids

Geraldine Carton

Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer
Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer

Sarah Finnan

Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend
Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend

Holly O'Neill

What to do when your boss is a bully
What to do when your boss is a bully

Colette Sexton

Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West Cork
Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West...

Sarah Finnan

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend

Jennifer McShane

Rihanna is about to release Fenty Parfum
Rihanna is about to release Fenty Parfum

Holly O'Neill

House of Gucci: The explosive true story behind Lady Gaga’s upcoming crime biopic
House of Gucci: The explosive true story behind Lady Gaga’s upcoming crime biopic

Jennifer McShane

Rosemary MacCabe: ‘I thought I’d accepted my body – then I got pregnant’
Rosemary MacCabe: ‘I thought I’d accepted my body – then I got pregnant’

Rosemary MacCabe

‘Hello? Where is Fergie?’: Sarah Ferguson offered her help to ‘The Crown’… but they declined
‘Hello? Where is Fergie?’: Sarah Ferguson offered her help to ‘The Crown’… but they declined

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

What’s the difference between biodynamic, organic, and natural wine?


by Lauren Heskin
06th Nov 2020
blank

It’s easy to feel intimidated when it comes to buying wine. The melange of regions, grapes, tasting notes and colourings means it can be difficult to articulate what you want when broached by a wine salesperson or sommelier. And now it’s become even more complicated with the growth of organic, biodynamic, and natural wine.

So what is the difference between all these “new” wine words?

Really, they all have a similar aim ­– to minimise the impact on the grape-growing and wine-making process. Many modern wines undergo a significant amount of manipulation before being poured into your glass. This includes using pesticides and machine harvesting during the farming period, and the chemical additives and sulphates added while in the cellar. Organic, biodynamic and natural wines are a reaction to that, calling for a return to the traditional way of viticulture with minimal environmental impact.

Organic Wine

Organic wine means exactly what you might imagine, it grows and bottles wine using certified organic materials. However, this relies as much on the climate on the region as anything else, says wine expert Aoife Carrigy. “If a wine is produced with organic grapes, that often tells you more about the climatic conditions of the region than the ethos of the winery or the quality of its wine.” Organic wine is strictly regulated and has to reach standards in order to advertise as organic but some of these wines can use animal products so may not be safe for vegans. Organic wine  Many also use sulphates in the bottling process, except in the US where the regulatory body does not allow it.

Producing organic wines requires a relatively balanced climate year-on-year and the process can be costly but doesn’t necessarily lead to expensive wine as they don’t require any of the pesticides. There is also no significant difference in taste organic wines, it’s more about environmental peace of mind when it comes to what you’re consuming.

Biodynamic Wine

However, not all climate and terrains are suitable for organic farming, which is where biodynamic farming comes in. Biodynamic farming actually goes a step further than organic farming as it holds many of the same standards of organic farming, like the ban on using any form of pesticides or chemicals, and also follow a set of farming practices based on the timelines of the lunar phases, and a generally more holistic approach to farming. It puts extra emphasis on the local climate, soil and farming techniques to ensure that the grapes are grown in ideal conditions.

Many feel that this careful consideration of the local environment results in a flavour that is reflective of the wine’s terroir. Without any chemical additives and a harvesting process that’s in line with the local ecological system, all of its flavours comes from the grapes. “Biodynamic wines involve a more complex approach and tend to be produced by wine-makers who are keen to express the terroir of the vineyards,” explains Aoife.

Natural Wine

Natural wine is a slightly looser, unregulated term and refers more to the winemaker’s attitude to winemaking. Unlike the detailed requirements to be certified as an organic wine, it generally refers to the vinification process, rather than the farming of the grapes. Natural wines undergo as little change as possible during vinification. This means that grapes are harvested usually by hand and then hand pressed. The grapes aren’t necessarily grown organically either, though inevitably natural wine growers prefer to use organic grapes.

The most obvious difference in a natural wine is their cloudy appearance, as they are not filtered and sometimes have a strong sulphurous odour. This is caused by the lack of sulphates added, which also means it doesn’t last as long as other wines, but purveyors say natural wines have a purer, wilder flavour.

Featured image:Kym Ellis on Unsplash

Also Read

house for sale in Rathmines
EDITORIAL
This beautifully finished end of terrace on Rathmines Road is on the market for just over the million mark

Built around 1860, the Victorian house for sale in Rathmines has all of the period features you would expect with...

By Lauren Heskin

blank
EDITORIAL
The life-changing act of binning all your terrible underwear

A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...

By Sophie White

BRITs
EDITORIAL
Best BRITs – The standout moments everyone is talking about from last night’s BRIT Awards

The BRIT Awards took place over in London last night, welcoming the who’s who of the music world inside the...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
Emerging after the pandemic: ‘There’s an awkwardness to my interactions, like I’ve forgotten how to socialise’

In just a few months, human contact became one of the most feared gestures. Being around people we loved was...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
TV presenter Kate Garraway says husband Derek is still “devastated by Covid”

Kate Garraway’s devastating Covid story is a reminder of why we must keep each other in mind as an invisible...

By Jennifer McShane

DIY wall murals
EDITORIAL
People are getting creative with their walls in lockdown and we’re dying to give it a go

While staying at home and with plenty of time to spare, creative people are turning to their walls as a...

By Megan Burns

blank
EDITORIAL
‘We have not heeded the warnings sufficiently’: The health emergency we’ve ignored while focusing on the pandemic

The climate change debate has been going on for so long its become white noise. But this week, the effects...

By Amanda Cassidy