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One To Wine

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Organic Vs Natural Vs Biodynamic Wines

Organic standards are in place to guarantee the quality of production of the wines we consume.

How can you make the difference between Organic VS Natural VS Biodynamic wines certifications?

These Organic, Natural and Biodynamic certifications seem clear at first glance, but since there are too many of them, they become unclear.

Each label is different and doesn’t guarantee the same quality. We count today 12 labels in France and 20 worldwide.

Even if these organic standards are a great step forward for the planet’s welfare, they still have their limits.

Indeed, most of them allow producers to use copper as a fungicide, but this seriously pollutes the soil. One To Wine would like to clarify everything for you so that you can make the right choice when buying a bottle of wine.

The difference that stands in organic vs natural vs biodynamic wines?

The principle of organic production is first of all to respect biodiversity: any chemical addition such as synthetic pesticides and herbicides is forbidden.

This corresponds to the labels AB, Bio (leaf in stars) and Nature et Progrès.

This last label adds to the respect of biodiversity, the follow up of the natural cycles of the vine.

Natural wines correspond to a winemaking method that adds to the organic criteria, the fact that they contain very few sulphites and no additives.

They are also poorly filtered and therefore often have a blurred appearance.

Good news!

Since March 2020, there’s finally a first state recognition of Natural Wines, agreed by the DGCCRF (a French organisation in charge of Competition, Consumption and Fraud Repression).

They are certified by the label Vin Méthode Nature.

Finally, biodynamic wines also comply with organic standards but also follow the lunar and planetary cycles.

This is the only method that guarantees a truly eco-friendly wine since it doesn’t allow the use of copper.

Moreover, mechanisation can be replaced by draught animals.

Some of the most famous domains follow these methods which seem ancestral, such as the domain of Romanée Conti.

The Biodyvin and Demeter labels guarantee this.

How to choose a certification as a small producer?

As a winegrower, the question is: which certification to choose from the market range?

The task is complex.

They decide according to their values, the market they are distributed in and the prices of the certifications.

Is the wine industry really tending to produce more responsibly or is it greenwashing ?

Greenwashing is the misuse of ecological positioning or practices for purely marketing purposes.

Most consumers don’t understand the difference between the certifications.

It is therefore necessary to simplify the information to get closer to an honest approach to the consumer.

Nowadays the qualities of bio, biodynamic or natural are not put forward by the industrialists.

First of all, wine must be perceived as good; it is thus its quality and its taste which are highlighted.

Organic certifications are presented in a second time.

Let’s take the example of the implantation of bees to improve the quality of wine production.

This process is costly, but in the long term improves the quality and durability of the product, as well as the image of the domain.

It can, therefore, be considered both as a sustainable investment and a marketing tool.

What about prices?

Obviously, production techniques have a direct influence on prices.

In order to satisfy their customers, some industries keep their sales prices unchanged while their production costs increase.

It is an investment in the long term. The customer still concentrates first on the quality of the wine and its price, then its organic character comes in a second time.

We talked about the impact of organic production on the planet and on humans.
Does it affect wine in terms of taste? 

Tasting a wine is based on many criteria, you can’t feel blindly that a wine is produced in a biodynamic way.

However, more and more wines tasted and considered to be very good, are found to be biodynamic.

Can organic production methods be applied to all types of producers, from the smallest winemakers to the largest groups?

It is true that some certifications require high costs, but there are many ways to produce sustainably.

This variety makes it possible to offer solutions at lower costs.

Thus, at every scale, it is possible to make efforts that are beneficial to the environment. 

What does the One To Wine Charter guarantee?

Based on the fact that 70% of organic wines use copper in viticulture, One To Wine has decided to select clean wines and to implement the “One To Wine Charter” on the environment and sustainable development.

No preventive treatment, no use of copper, respect for biodiversity and vine development.

Even if some of our winegrowers do not have the AB label on their bottles, because they are in conversion or because the label is too expensive for them, we can guarantee the quality of their wines thanks to the charter to which they’ve agreed.  

We regularly visit our producers, assisted by an agricultural engineer, in order to check that the wines we offer respect the environment and still comply to our charter.

Recap:


Through this article, you understood :

– That organic labels work on protecting biodiversity and mankind.

– They are very expensive for producers and confusing for consumers.

– You have to understand the difference between these organic certifications, which do not confer the same environmental precautions.

– In addition, “greenwashing“, rather than a real policy of respecting the environment, can mean just a marketing strategy in which the certifications are sometimes too highlighted

– Indeed, the majority of them unfortunately authorise the use of copper, a very polluting heavy metal which is dangerous for the vines and the soil.

This is where One To Wine expertise comes in.

The Vegan Wine Complexity

You may at first have asked yourself : “Well, isn’t all wine vegan by definition?”. 

To this question, we must answer: no! 

It is a bit more complex than that and, to be frank, depending on the definition given to ‘vegan’, the majority of wines isn’t! 

But why? Afterall, isn’t wine just made out of grapes? 

The difference between the usual wine and vegan-friendly wine stands in three points: clarification, vine treatment and soil plow. 

 How the wine has been clarified

What is the “clarification”?

How the vine has been treated.

This process is the main reason why all wine isn’t vegan.  

The clarification is the process that helps removing material -that makes the wine cloudy-, while still in the cellar.  

The clarification usually involves the use of animal-based products such as casein, fish glue and yolks.  

Nowadays winemakers are looking into different ways to clarify the wine. 

The “preparation 500” in the biodynamic system


This is another reason why vegans don’t drink non-labelled vegan-friendly wines. 

Why? Because it involves cow’s horns and excrements to make an environmental-friendly fertiliser. 

The process is easy: they take the cow’s horns and use it to put in the excrements; then they seal the horns with the excrements and leave it in the soil for about six months, from -November to April. 

The biodynamic system is the eco-friendliest way to treat your vineyard, but as you do have to rely on nature only, you need to breed cows, chicken and sheeps, so this is not vegan friendly.   

You can find more here:


The article in French explains better how all the horns used are from cows that were killed for other reasons.


How the soil is plowed


In order to lower the CO2 emissions, some winemakers use horses to plow the ground, instead of heavy machines.

This is also an example in which animal exploitation is with done with good intentions in mind.


Is “vegan” wine better than “normal” wine?


First of all, the fact that you are using animals for any of the three points aforementioned has no influence on either the taste or the aromas of the wines.

However, most of the winemakers that tend to follow a strict vegan policy until reaching the labellisation usually do care about their vines and vinifications process.

Therefore, in average, vegan wines happen to be better, even if this has no direct consequence. 


Vegan labelling  


To receive the stamp of vegan labelling, you have to go even further than your own practices.

You have to go through all your sourcing process, including the glue you use to stick the labels on your bottles and the ink used to print your cardboards, as there might be some traces of albumin coming from pork blood. 

There are different associations and (controlling) organisations – such as the vegan society , Eve, PLAMIL Food Vegan Label,… – that can give you the stamp you need, but they will increase the taxes you’re paying if you start producing more, since the subscription to the label is partly based also on the surface of the vineyard.

The fact that a wine has the label on it makes sure that it is 100% vegan-friendly, otherwise, anyone could cheat. 


Which of our wines are vegan labellised?                  


Four of our winemakers are applying for the label and we selected the eight following wines:

  • Château Dalmeran Bastide and Red

  • Domaine du Petit Clocher Rosé and White

  • Domaine Maison Sparkling

  • Bidoli Pinot Grigio, Friulano and Cabernet.  


Fun fact


Many vegan wines do not advertise wine pairing with “vegan” food, but with meat/cheeses/fish… 

For example, look at this ones:


Legit pairings for vegans


Light meals are best with a white wine, asian dishes with Riesling, spicy foods with Pinot Grigio and raw dishes with rosés.

Italian reds go well with vegan pizzas or pasta while a full-bodied red wine from Bordeaux can be paired with richer dishes, such as chilli or mushroom stroganoff. 

Still, it is fun to experiment! And let us know if you find some new, exciting pairings! 

We suggest this site, as it has many pairing ideas and descriptions that will surely meet anyone’s needs.  


Where we stand

Our decision is to focus on the environment first as we discovered that 80% of organic wines were treated with copper (this is not chemical products although highly polluting and toxic for the soil and underground water), we chose to go one step further and select producers that are not using copper in the vine treatment. 

We solely have very respectful winemakers, only few use eggs yolks to clarify and some are in biodynamic system therefore have a few cows, and some do use horses instead of machines to reduce their CO2 impact, so we took the position to not have only vegan wines, but also more CO2 efficient wines that cannot be vegan. 

We truly sympathize with our vegan friends and we would always follow the path of preservation of the environment aside of the respect of animals.

That said, wine is all about sharing, so we invite you to discuss it around a glass of vegan wine.

Conception & development : Cereal Concept