What is a natural wine? And an organic wine? A biodynamic wine?

Una breve descripción de cada uno de estos tipos de elaboración de vino


Although the name of this blog is Orange Wines we will also talk about these wines, both white and red, produced in amphorae or clay vessels, those red wines macerated with their skins more than usual, or those wines produced following the lunar phases. Therefore, we should speak a little about the differences between them.

Orange wines (also amber wines): First and most important is that these are wines not made with oranges or with orange skins floating inside the bottle. In fact, they are not related to oranges at all. They are wines whose fermentation is carried out macerating the must with their skins for long periods of time, usually in buried clay or terracotta amphorae, though there are also winemakers using large oak barrels. This process makes the wine acquire orange or amber tones, which is where the name comes from. Its origin is in the Caucasus area a few millennia ago. These are wines that have a great tanicity for being white wines and because of their elaboration, they endure long periods of aging in bottle.

Natural wines: Wines made in a way that the minimum intervention in the processes of viticulture and winemaking is conducted. Some producers refer to this as “accompanying the wine in its path through life” rather than making a wine. The grapes follow the methods of organic farming and/or biodynamic and are usually harvested by hand, including in many cases also treading instead of pressing. In general, sulfites are not usually added. Native yeasts and bacteria are used and industrial ones are not added. Wine levels (sugars, alcohol, acidity, etc.) are not corrected, and wines are not filtered, stabilized or clarified prior to bottling. There are producers who follow the lunar and/or astrological calendar. There is no certification body for natural viticulture.

Organic wines: Actually, there is no such thing as organic wine but is more properly called wine made with organically grown grapes. Work on the field does not include chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. The grapes must have been certified as organic for later use for winemaking. The main objective of this style of elaboration is to preserve the balance of the agroecosystem and the environment. It is allowed to use oenological products, limited addition of sulphites and to use egg albumin and bentonite for wine clarification.

Biodynamic wines: Biodynamic farming is rooted in anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, the science that combines medicine, osteopathy and astrology. It follows a philosophy according to which grapes and wines are part of a natural dynamics in the cellar in which they are integrated together with the other elements, including man, into a large single set. To be biodynamic you have to be first organic or ecological and as with organic farming, no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides are used in vineyard work. In turn, many of these works are done with copper-made tools so as not to not damage the integrity of the soil. The processes are performed according to the lunar calendar, that is, there are specific days to planting, harvesting, bottling or tasting wine, as the lunar phases affect their behavior. There are several certifying bodies of both organic and biodynamic wines and wine cellars, whose seals are included in the labels. Demeter is the most widespread private certification body.