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Green / Sustainable Wine & Spirits

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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    Yalumba Y Series Merlot 2004
    Merlot from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
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      Luna Vineyards Sangiovese 2004
      Sangiovese from Napa Valley, California
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        17 99
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        Cline Pinot Grigio-Chardonnay 2004
        Other White Blends from Sonoma County, California
          3.0 8 Ratings
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          Spring Mountain Vineyard Elivette 2004
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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          • W&S93
          • RP90
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          Currently Unavailable $214.99
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          Big Basin Rattlesnake Rock Syrah 2004
          Syrah/Shiraz from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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          • RP92
          • WS91
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          Currently Unavailable $54.97
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          WillaKenzie Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2004
          Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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            Cline Small Berry Mourvedre 2004
            Mourvedre from California
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              Cline Ancient Vines Carignane 2004
              Carignan from Sonoma County, California
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                9 99
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                d'Arenberg Money Spider Roussanne 2004
                Roussanne from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
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                  Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2004
                  Sangiovese from Italy
                  • RP90
                  3.6 15 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                  Luna Vineyards Pinot Grigio 2004
                  Pinot Gris/Grigio from Napa Valley, California
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                    WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris Cork-Free 2004
                    Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
                    • WE90
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                    Laurel Glen REDS 2004
                    Other Red Blends from California
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                      10 79
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                      Cline Zinfandel 2004
                      Zinfandel from California
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                        Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                        11 99
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                        Cline Los Carneros Syrah 2004
                        Syrah/Shiraz from Carneros, California
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                          Cline Red Truck 2004
                          Other Red Blends from California
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                            Benziger Pinot Noir 2004
                            Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
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                              27 99
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                              d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2004
                              Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
                                3.8 9 Ratings
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                                21 99
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                                Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2004
                                Zinfandel from California
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                                Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                                24 99
                                24 99
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                                Bonterra Organically Grown Chardonnay 2004
                                Chardonnay from North Coast, California
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                                  13 99
                                  13 99
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                                  Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel 2004
                                  Zinfandel from California
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                                    24 99
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                                    d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2004
                                    Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
                                    • RP92
                                    • W&S92
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                                    Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                                    29 99
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                                  • Vietti Moscato d'Asti 2004
                                    Muscat from Asti, Piedmont, Italy
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                                      Benziger Merlot 2004
                                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                                        21 99
                                        21 99
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                                        Yalumba Barossa Shiraz 2004
                                        Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
                                        • RP90
                                        3.8 5 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                                        15 99
                                        15 99
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