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Green / Sustainable Wine

Natural Wine, Organic & Sustainable Defined ...

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Wines marked with the green leaf icon are produced using organic, biodynamic or sustainable practices as certified by various domestic and international organizations. Any spirits marked with the green leaf have been made using sustainable methods designed to decrease their production impact on the environment.

Does the green leaf mean it is a natural wine?

Though it is a widely used term, “natural wine” is difficult to indisputably define. Other terms are almost as popular: “low intervention,” “live,” “raw,” and “green wine,” to name a few. Isabelle Legeron, Master of Wine, in her book, Natural Wine explains the term best.

“Whether or not it is certified (or indeed certifiable), natural wine does exist. It is wine from vineyards that are farmed organically, at the very least, and which is produced without adding or removing anything during vinification, apart from a dash of sulfites at bottling.”

While this definition may sound ideal to most, the USA defines “organic wine” differently. Read on for clarification.

What is the difference between organic wine and wine made from organic grapes?

Organic wine in the USA is regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP) of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. By definition, organic winegrowing integrates cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering are not allowed. Products from outside of the cycle are used minimally. The USDA NOP allows for two categories of finished wine:

  1. Organic wine, as defined and labeled in the USA, is wine made from organic grapes with no added sulfites. Each country has its own laws on how to define organic wine. But any wine labeled “organic” sold in the USA, whether it is domestically made or imported, is not allowed to have any added sulfites. However, less than 20 mg/L can occur naturally.
  2. Wine made from organic grapes, which allows minimal addition of sulfites (less than 100 mg/L) cannot be labeled as “organic wine” in the USA, but can mention the use of organic grapes.

What is biodynamic wine?

Biodynamic wine is created from a system of winegrowing similar to that for organic wine, but includes various concepts from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Steiner’s farming methods treat soil fertility, plant growth and products, and livestock care and products as ecologically interrelated. Biodynamic agriculture uses compost and manure for fertilization, natural herb and mineral supplements for field sprays and prohibits the use of anything artificial. It treats the entire vineyard as an interrelated part of a self-sufficient farm. Biodynamic farming considers the influence of weather, seasons and movements of the moon and planets on the rhythms of the farm. The term “biodynamic” refers to both the agricultural methods used to grow the vines, as well as winery processing.

What does sustainable wine mean?

Sustainable wine production can be defined by three main goals: environmental stewardship, economic profitability and social and economic equity. This means that sustainable farmers do their best to give back to the environment and to the community, while also furthering their business. Sustainable wine growers may largely use organic or biodynamic practices, and occasionally or minimally use synthetic materials (only the least harmful), but have the flexibility to choose the methods that work best for their goals. The sustainable label tells the consumer which wines are made with ecological, economical and social principles in mind. Its limitation is that it is locally defined and therefore varies regionally.

What are sustainable spirits?

While regulations on the spirits side of sustainable are still in their infancy, that hasn’t stopped individual producers from taking heed of conscientious production techniques to reduce their carbon footprint. Distillers striving to make their operations more sustainable are implementing a wide array of eco-friendly procedures ranging from renewable power solutions, water and heat reclamation systems, utilizing locally sourced agricultural produce and composting or reusing any refuse as fertilizer or feed for livestock. In addition to optimizing the efficiency of the manufacturing process, eliminating harmful single use plastics and repurposing or recycling waste products such as barrels and bottles are also proving to be effective strategies for improving sustainability. All spirits labeled “organic” must meet the regulations provided by both Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the USDA.

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    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • JS93
    • WS91
    4.5 5 Ratings
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  • A to Z Pinot Noir 2016  Front Label
    A to Z Pinot Noir 2016
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WE90
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  • Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2018 Front Label
    Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2018
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WE91
    3.9 19 Ratings
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  • Jansz Premium Rose Front Label
    Jansz Premium Rose
    Rosé Sparkling Wine from Tasmania, Australia
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    • D92
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    • W&S90
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    4.4 61 Ratings
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  • Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2017  Front Label
    Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2017
    Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
    • JS96
    • JD94
    • RP93
    4.2 49 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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  • Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port Front Label
    Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port
    Port from Douro, Portugal
    • D96
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    • WS93
    • WE90
    4.4 141 Ratings
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  • Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2017  Front Label
    Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2017
    Mourvedre from Bandol, Provence, France
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    • Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2013  Front Label
      Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2013
      Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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      • WE93
      • RP91
      4.5 11 Ratings
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      Vietti Cascinetta Moscato d'Asti 2019
      Muscat from Asti, Piedmont, Italy
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        Grgich Hills Estate Yountville Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
        • RP95
        • WE94
        • W&S91
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        Currently Unavailable $184.99
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      • Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2016  Front Label
        Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2016
        Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
        • D97
        • JS92
        3.9 20 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $41.99
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      • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2017 Front Label
        Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2017
        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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        • WE91
        • JD90
        • RP90
        4.1 127 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $19.99
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        Paul Dolan Vineyards Organically Grown Zinfandel 2016
        Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
        • WW90
        3.7 68 Ratings
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        Parducci True Grit Reserve Red Blend 2016
        Other Red Blends from Mendocino, California
        • WE90
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        Currently Unavailable $18.99
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        Rodney Strong Upshot Red Blend 2017
        Other Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
        • WW89
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        Currently Unavailable $23.99
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      • Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
        Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California
          4.2 12 Ratings
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        • Bedrock Wine Company The Bedrock Heritage 2018  Front Label
          Bedrock Wine Company The Bedrock Heritage 2018
          Other Red Blends from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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          • RP94
          • WE94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $49.99
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        • Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
          Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
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          • V93
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          • D92
          4.3 26 Ratings
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        • Jean-Louis Chave Selection Cotes-du-Rhone Mon Coeur 2017  Front Label
          Jean-Louis Chave Selection Cotes-du-Rhone Mon Coeur 2017
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          • Marchesi di Barolo Tradizione Barbaresco 2014 Front Label
            Marchesi di Barolo Tradizione Barbaresco 2014
            Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
            • WE91
            • JS90
            • RP90
            4.4 5 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $49.99
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            49 99
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          • Ziobaffa Organic Toscana 2014 Front Label
            Ziobaffa Organic Toscana 2014
            Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
            • JS90
            4.4 30 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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          • Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere  2016 Front Label
            Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere 2016
            Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
            • JS96
            • V96
            • WE95
            • WS95
            • RP95
            • JD95
            • D93
            • CG91
            4.6 9 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $109.99
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          • Calendal Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu 2013 Front Label
            Calendal Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu 2013
            Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
            • RP92
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $36.99
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          • Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017  Front Label
            Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
            Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
            • JS97
            • V94
            • WS93
            • W&S92
            • WE90
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            Currently Unavailable $69.99
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          • Hahn Winery GSM 2018  Front Label
            Hahn Winery GSM 2018
            Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
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              Currently Unavailable $14.99
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              14 99
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