Published the Mar 17 2020 in "Sustainabily & Winemakers"
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.
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.
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.