Our Guide to Organic Grapes, Organic Wines, and the Natural Wine Movement

Organic, natural and biodynamic winemaking is flourishing. Get to know some of the practices behind the approaches and certifications that have people talking (and sipping).*

You might have heard it through the grapevine: Back-to-the-earth methods of winemaking are in. Whether rich reds, crisp whites or blushing rosés — organic, natural and biodynamic wine options abound. Read on to get a quick primer of what separates them from their conventionally crafted peers, then check out our wine experts’ top picks made with organic grapes. Prost!

What makes organic wine organic?

Wines that are labeled organic must be made with 95% organically produced ingredients, most notably organic grapes grown without the use of toxic persistent pesticides. In fact, there are many requirements to gain organic certification, such as that wines must be produced without GMOs and without synthetic fertilizers. Plus, no added sulfites are allowed: Organic wines must contain under 10 ppm of naturally occurring sulfites. Whole Foods Market always requires proof of organic certification for wines making organic and “made with organic grapes” claims.

What about wines “made with organic grapes”?

This label focuses specifically on the grapes as the key differentiator. Like their organic wine cousins, these wines are made from grapes grown without toxic persistent pesticides, GMOs and synthetic fertilizers. However, added sulfites are allowed, but only at limited levels depending on the type of wine.

Favorite Wines Made With Organic Grapes

Let’s take a recess from the technical side and get into some fun tasting notes. Read on for 14 of our curated picks. You’re sure to find a vino love-match.

What is biodynamic wine?

Break out your horticulture books and magnifying glass! Part art and part science, biodynamic farming takes into account close observations of nature — considering soil health, water quality and interconnected ecosystems to view the vineyard holistically. Check out the wine label for certification from the Biodynamic Demeter Association, a U.S. certifier of biodynamic farms and products.

What is natural wine?

Natural winemaking strives for lower impact on the vineyard and lower intervention in the winery, with a focus on connection to the land and minimalist winemaking. What that means: wine that emphasizes expression of the place where the grapes are grown — soil, slope, sun and rain. While lacking hard requirements, natural winemakers likely show a preference for handpicking over mechanized and letting native yeasts and barrels do their thing. As a result, these wines can vary in character from year to year. Uncork and see what wonders await.

Is wine vegan?

Logic says that grapes are fruits and fruits are vegan. But it’s not that simple. Many winemakers use animal protein–based agents to filter sediment before bottling. Luckily, we offer plenty of vegan options opens in a new tab that carry a third-party vegan certification. So you’re all set to sip and relax.

*Must be 21+. Please drink responsibly.

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