Organic wine has officially existed since 2012. It is produced from grapes grown according to the principles of organic farming, both in terms of viticulture (treatment of the vines) and at the time of vinification (in the cellars). The denomination “organic wine” is regulated since 2012 by European specifications to which all member countries are subject.
Organic wines available on the market before 2012 met a European regulation dating from 1991 which guaranteed the origin of the grapes, but not the process of organic wine making. From now on, dealcoholization, electrodialysis, treatment of musts at a temperature above 70 ° C and filtration of wines below 0.2 µm are prohibited.
In 2016, organic and / or conversion areas represented 70,740 hectares, or 9% of the French vineyard.
Natural wine, organic wine, biodynamic wine … what are the differences?
The designation “organic wine” implies that the vines have not undergone no synthetic or insecticide treatment. The list of inputs authorized at the time of vinification is shorter than in conventional ones, but the addition of tannins, sulfur, yeasts (which do not have to be organic) is authorized.
Acidification, deacidification, heat treatment, addition of tannins, addition of wood chips, sulfur and the use of industrial yeasts are also authorized.
Wines from biodynamics.
Biodynamics is a production system inspired by Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, which aims to preserve the balance between the plant, the soil and the environment. The winegrowers who practice it use in particular herbal preparations that they infuse, energize or macerate in order to help the vine to strengthen itself naturally and to develop better. They also trust the moon calendar so that the plant, the soil and the lunar influences combine in the best possible way.
The use of sulfur is allowed (at a lower dose than for organic wines), as well as wine fining and filtration. Chaptalization (addition of sugar) is only done for sparkling wines.
The cultivation of natural wines does not allow no inputs, nor techniques aimed at modify the original grape juice. The only exception: sulfur …
There is also a category of even more “natural” wines: the Wines Without No Inputs Or Sulphites (HEALTHY).
Can we find pesticides in organic wine?
As surprising as it sounds: yes. However, organic viticulture uses very few pesticides. The only products used come from natural substances or derived from natural substancess (Bordeaux mixture, paraffin oil, sulfur, kaolin, potassium bicarbonate, vinegar, nettle, etc.). Inputs such as sugar and rectified concentrated must are allowed in the chaptalization phase, as well as alcohol for mutage. However, they must be certified organic.
Whatever the type of organic product, you should know that contamination is always possible during the cultivation, storage or transport of food.
Can organic wines contain GMOs?
No, because European regulations prohibit their use in plants, animals, additives, fodder, fertilizers …
Can organic wine contain sulphites?
If the fermentation of the grape produces it naturally, the winegrowers can also add it to protect wine from oxidation, kill bacteria and unwanted yeasts. In France, the level of sulphites accepted in organic wines is lower than the rate in wines grown conventionally.
This content is 50 mg / L lower for dry wines, i.e. a maximum of 100 mg / L for dry red wines and 150 mg / L for dry white and rosé wines. It is 30 mg / L lower for all other types of wine. Its mention is mandatory on labels (under the names of sulfites, sulfur, sulfur dioxide or SO2).