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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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  • J Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir 2017 Front Label
    J Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir 2017
    Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
    • JS91
    • RP90
    • W&S90
    4.2 11 Ratings
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017  Front Label
    Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • JD95
    • RP95
    • D95
    • WS95
    • V94
    4.7 58 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $74.99
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    74 99
    74 99
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  • Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
    Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
    • TP90
    • WS90
    4.0 115 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    20
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  • Grgich Hills Estate Fume Blanc 2017  Front Label
    Grgich Hills Estate Fume Blanc 2017
    Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • JS91
    • CG91
    4.0 28 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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    31
    24 99
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  • Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
    Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Hills, Lake County, North Coast, California
      4.1 182 Ratings
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      25
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    • Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
      Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $54.99
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      • Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017  Front Label
        Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
        • V94
        4.4 45 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $49.99
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        58
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      • Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017  Front Label
        Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017
        Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
        • JS92
        • WW90
        4.2 61 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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        29 99
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      • Clos Cibonne Rose Tradition 2017  Front Label
        Clos Cibonne Rose Tradition 2017
        Rosé from Cotes de Provence, Provence, South of France, France
        • W&S93
        4.3 5 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $31.99
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        31 99
        31 99
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      • Raymond Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
        Raymond Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
        • RP92
        • WW92
        • JD90
        • WE90
        4.2 243 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $39.99
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        45
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      • Dominio de Pingus Psi 2017  Front Label
        Dominio de Pingus Psi 2017
        Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
        • W&S90
        4.4 18 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $36.99
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        36 99
        36 99
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      • Ornellaia Le Volte dell’ Ornellaia 2017  Front Label
        Ornellaia Le Volte dell’ Ornellaia 2017
        Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
        • RP92
        • JS91
        3.9 44 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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        34
        29 99
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      • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
        Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
        • WW90
        • W&S90
        4.0 293 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $18.99
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        22
        18 99
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      • King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017  Front Label
        King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017
        Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
          4.2 37 Ratings
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        • Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
          Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendocino, California
          • WW90
          3.9 37 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $19.99
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          30
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        • Wente Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
          Wente Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
          • TP95
          • WE91
          4.3 58 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $24.99
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          30
          24 99
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        • Aalto  2017  Front Label
          Aalto 2017
          Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
          • WS94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $49.99
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          49 99
          49 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
          • RP92
          • WE90
          4.3 8 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $69.99
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          69 99
          69 99
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        • Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2017 Front Label
          Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2017
          Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
          • JD98
          • RP97
          • JS94
          3.8 6 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $99.99
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          99 99
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        • Ghost Block Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
          Ghost Block Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
          • WW91
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $73.99
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          73 99
          73 99
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        • Gerard Bertrand Chateau L'Hospitalet Grand Vin Rouge 2017  Front Label
          Gerard Bertrand Chateau L'Hospitalet Grand Vin Rouge 2017
          Rhone Red Blends from La Clape, Languedoc, South of France, France
          • WW91
          4.3 60 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $39.99
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          50
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        • Starmont Chardonnay (375ML half-bottle) 2017  Front Label
          Starmont Chardonnay (375ML half-bottle) 2017
          Chardonnay from Carneros, California
            3.3 6 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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            13 99
            13 99
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          • Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel 2017 Front Label
            Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel 2017
            Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
            • WW92
            • WE89
            4.1 14 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $18.99
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            18 99
            18 99
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          • Jordan Chardonnay 2017  Front Label
            Jordan Chardonnay 2017
            Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
            • WW93
            • WE90
            4.1 33 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $41.99
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            41 99
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          • Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  Front Label
            Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
            Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
            • JS91
            3.9 44 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $25.99
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            25 99
            25 99
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