Biodynamic, organic and natural wines, what are the differences?
I believe that a good wine is a good wine independently. When a wine is well made, it does not really matter whether it is organic, biodynamic or natural, it is always a joy to drink it and each wine maker follows the best approach to obtain great grapes, a good or great wine cannot be made without healthy grapes, unless it is made in a chemistry laboratory. And wine, like any other product, is subject to trends and now it is all about natural wines, wines made without human intervention where the grape juice is transformed into wine naturally, according to its own timing.
A few months ago I wrote a post about natural wines
, this post is about understanding the differences, if any, between the natural wines philosophy and organic and biodynamic approach.
Natural wines are made without any human intervention, no yeast, no additions or corrections, the juice becomes wines following its own rhythm. Organic and biodynamic wines are wines certified by a third party, confirming that they have been made according their respective regulations, for natural wines there isn’t yet a third party that can certify their being “natural” and currently it is up to the interpretation given to it by the wine maker. It is possible to find “natural wines” made following different approaches with different results.
If we were to put the three approaches or philosophies on a pyramid, we would have organic at the bottom, biodynamic in the middle and natural at the top, so that any organic or biodynamic wine could also be natural but they are not by definition, the wine maker would need to go beyond what the certifications for the other two approaches require.
Whilst it is unlikely for an organic wine to be natural as well, it is more likely for biodynamic wines, since the certification requires a certain approach to the wine making process as well as the grape growing. A wine to be certified organic only needs to be made with organically grown grapes, even though there are limits such as the quantity of sulphur that can be added. And the higher we are in the pyramid, the more we should be prepared to pay for the wine, the more labour intensive it is to make it.
Are natural wines better than the other categories? No, like always, there are good and bad, so my recommendation is, as usual, never buy a wine for what it says on its label.
What do you think of biodynamic, organic and natural wines, what have been your experiences?