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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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  • Quintessa  2016  Front Label
    Quintessa 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • JS98
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    • JD96
    • WS93
    • WW93
    4.8 42 Ratings
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  • Lemelson Thea's Select Pinot Noir 2016  Front Label
    Lemelson Thea's Select Pinot Noir 2016
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • JS93
    • WS91
    4.3 96 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $28.99
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  • Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2016  Front Label
    Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2016
    Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
    • D97
    • WE93
    • JS92
    • RP92
    4.1 135 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $41.99
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  • Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2016 Front Label
    Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2016
    Vintage Sparkling Wine from North Coast, California
    • JS93
    • CG91
    • WS91
    • W&S90
    4.7 112 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $34.99
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    41
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  • Markham Merlot 2016 Front Label
    Markham Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
    • WW90
    4.0 155 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $20.99
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    25
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  • Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Front Label
    Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
    • RP95
    • JD95
    4.7 14 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $159.99
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  • Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
    • WW92
    0.0 0 Ratings
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  • Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Front Label
    Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • TP93
    • D92
    • W&S92
    • JS91
    4.1 355 Ratings
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  • Clos Apalta  2016  Front Label
    Clos Apalta 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
    • JS99
    • RP96
    • WS94
    • V93
    4.5 9 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $139.99
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    160
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  • Clos Apalta Le Petit Clos Apalta 2016  Front Label
    Clos Apalta Le Petit Clos Apalta 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
    • JS96
    • RP93
    • WS93
    4.6 7 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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    54 99
    54 99
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  • Markham Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Markham Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
      4.3 10 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    • Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2016  Front Label
      Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2016
      Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
      • JS96
      • V94
      • WW94
      • D93
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $54.99
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      54 99
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    • Chateau Pontet-Canet  2016 Front Label
      Chateau Pontet-Canet 2016
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
      • WE100
      • V99
      • RP98
      • D98
      • JD98
      • JS97
      • WS95
      4.3 21 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $169.99
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    • Schramsberg Brut Rose 2016 Front Label
      Schramsberg Brut Rose 2016
      Rosé Sparkling Wine from North Coast, California
      • WE93
      • WS91
      • JS91
      • CG90
      4.6 17 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    • Hall Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
      Hall Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
      • RP97
      • WW96
      • JD95
      • V94
      • WE94
      4.7 27 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $174.99
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    • Tolaini Al Passo Toscana 2016 Front Label
      Tolaini Al Passo Toscana 2016
      Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
      • JS94
      • RP92
      • WS92
      • V91
      4.2 23 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $21.99
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      27
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    • Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
      Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • WW93
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $71.99
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    • Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2016  Front Label
      Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2016
      Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
      • RP97
      • JS96
      • W&S92
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $134.99
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      140
      134 99
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    • Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2016 Front Label
      Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2016
      Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
      • JS98
      • RP97
      • JD97
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $299.99
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    • Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Blanc 2016  Front Label
      Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Blanc 2016
      Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, Loire, France
        4.9 6 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $36.99
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      • Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Chardonnay 2016 Front Label
        Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Chardonnay 2016
        Chardonnay from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
        • WS94
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $99.99
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      • Parducci True Grit Reserve Red Blend 2016 Front Label
        Parducci True Grit Reserve Red Blend 2016
        Other Red Blends from Mendocino, California
        • WE90
        3.8 49 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $18.99
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        30
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      • Rippon Vineyard Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2016  Front Label
        Rippon Vineyard Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2016
        Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand
        • JS97
        • RP94
        • WE94
        • WS92
        4.8 6 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $53.99
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        62
        53 99
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      • Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava Brut Nature 2016  Front Label
        Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava Brut Nature 2016
        Vintage Sparkling Wine from Penedes, Spain
          4.4 21 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $17.99
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        • Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2016 Front Label
          Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2016
          Sangiovese from Chianti Classico, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
          • JS93
          • W&S92
          • RP92
          • WS91
          4.1 30 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $28.99
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          28 99
          28 99
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