Why Small Production Farming Matters

Wine labels are confusing enough - but now a lot of people are starting to use phrases that are misleading. The movement towards eco-friendly grape growing did not start until the first decade of the twenty-first century. "Green viticulture" usually refers to these three concepts: 1. Biodynamic 2. Organic & 3. Sustainable. Of course, terms like "natural" or "low carb/low sugar" exist as well, but that for the most part is just a marketing scam.


In easier terms here are the three high-level definitions of the three most popular concepts: 


Biodynamic Farming: 

Biodynamics is the highest level of organic farming, with the idea of creating a self sustaining ecosystem. Biodynamics views the vineyard as a single organism, with each portion of the farm or vineyard contributing to the next. It not only eliminates synthetic chemicals, but it also encourages biodiversity, a closed nutrient system, & much more. It is sometimes referred to as a "spiritual science" because of how far farmers will go to align all the forces of nature, creating natural harmony.


Organic Wine AND Organic Grapes:

Organically grown grapes, simply means that the grapes were grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, engineered plant materials, or synthetic chemicals (like pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or soil fumigants). However organic wine in the USA is different. The wine must be made using organic grapes and, in addition, sulfites cannot be added to the wine. (Sulfites are natural antimicrobial agents that help prevent the wine going bad and act as a perservative).



Here is where it can get tricky - winemakers who grow grapes organically but use small amounts of sulfites cannot label their wine organic - however, they can say that their wine has been made with organically grown grapes.



There is no real definition or requirements, think of it as someone who recycles. Farmers voluntarily practiced by conscientious winegrowers worldwide. There is no single definition or legal requirements to be classified as "sustainable". Vintners decide for themselves which farming practices to implement, and which to avoid, in order to create an integrated farming system capable of sustaining itself indefinitely.

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