Hello everyone! Today we’re talking about an interesting trend in the wine business, biodynamic and organic wines. We’re sure you’ve heard the terms before, but what are they? The answer is a bit trickier than you might think. Many people are unsure about where one stops and the other starts, but there are indeed some key differences, and you’re about to learn all about them.
Our private winery tours to the Yarra Valley, the best Melbourne private tours, and cruise excursions are a brilliant way of seeing what sustainable farming all is about. Meanwhile, here’s all about biodynamic and organic wines, and we’ll start with everything they’re not — They’re not conventional wines.
What Are Conventional Wines?
Conventional winemaking is very similar to any other farming. The goal of producers is making nice-tasting wine fast and easy, and if it’s cheap, even better. To achieve this, grape growers have a complete set of tools at their disposal — pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, to mention a few.
The thing is, no one wants to drink unhealthy chemicals. Still, we do so every day. The problem doesn’t stop at the vineyards. Winemakers can add many things to the wine, from colorants and tannins to acid, oak chips, and preservatives. These wines are undoubtedly tasty.
What Are Organic Wines?
Organic winemakers and grape growers are against conventional farming, and they don’t use any chemicals in their vineyards. It comes with a risk, though; the vines are exposed to insects and fungi that can ruin a whole year’s worth of hard work. Nevertheless, the result is worth it because you can offer your customers pure wine: nothing but fermented grape juice without additives.
There’s a catch. One additive is essential to make wine shelf-stable, and that’s sulfur dioxide or SO2. The Ancient Romans already knew about this sulphuric compound and used it to sterilize their wood barrels and keep their wine safe from spoiling. So, where do organic winemakers stand in the matter? Some will not use SO2 at all, and their wines are always at risk of being ruined before you can drink them. Others will be judicious and use the minimum amount of SO2 to preserve the wine without ruining it.
Wines labeled as “made with organic grapes” might have some SO2. Authentic organic wine has no SO2 despite the risk of spoilage.
What Are Biodynamic Wines?
The biodynamic philosophy goes one step further than organic. Winemakers will not only avoid any artificial chemicals in the vineyard and winery, but they will substitute them with natural treatments. These odd-sounding treatments include animal manure fermented in cow’s horns and buried underground for months, and a stag bladder filled with flowers and hung to dryness before being powdered and sprayed over the vines.
The whole biodynamic theory, developed by the Austrian Rudolph Steiner in the early 20th century, calls for organic preparations but also makes winemakers align their everyday chores with a lunar calendar. You can only prune, fertilize, and harvest your vines when the stars and planets in the sky are in the right position.
Although biodynamic winemaking sounds mysterious, it seems to work, because biodynamic wines taste fantastic.
Have You Tried Organic And Biodynamic Wines?
If you want to know more about this exciting topic, take a private winery tour to Yarra Valley, a Melbourne tour that will open your eyes to the fantastic wines out there.