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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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  • Schramsberg Reserve Brut 2009 Front Label
    Schramsberg Reserve Brut 2009
    Vintage Sparkling Wine from North Coast, California
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  • Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache 2009 Front Label
    Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache 2009
    Grenache from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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  • Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2009 Front Label
    Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2009
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Cayuse Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon 2009  Front Label
    Cayuse Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    • RP93
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  • Maysara Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir 2009 Front Label
    Maysara Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir 2009
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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  • Pikes Riesling Traditionale 2009 Front Label
    Pikes Riesling Traditionale 2009
    Riesling from Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia
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  • Cayuse Camaspelo 2009 Front Label
    Cayuse Camaspelo 2009
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    • RP92
    • WS92
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  • d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2009 Front Label
    d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2009
    Grenache from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
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    • RP90
    4.1 7 Ratings
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  • Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillon Premier Cru 2009 Front Label
    Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillon Premier Cru 2009
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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    • BH90
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  • Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard Claret 2009 Front Label
    Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard Claret 2009
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
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    • RP92
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  • Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009 Front Label
    Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • RP91
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  • Cayuse Impulsivo Tempranillo 2009 Front Label
    Cayuse Impulsivo Tempranillo 2009
    Tempranillo from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    • WS92
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  • Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2009 Front Label
    Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2009
    Pinot Noir from Chile
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  • Yalumba Organic Viognier 2009 Front Label
    Yalumba Organic Viognier 2009
    Viognier from South Australia, Australia
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  • Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009 Front Label
    Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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  • Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2009 Front Label
    Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2009
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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    3.5 10 Ratings
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  • Yalumba Eden Valley Shiraz/Viognier 2009 Front Label
    Yalumba Eden Valley Shiraz/Viognier 2009
    Syrah/Shiraz from Eden Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
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    3.2 6 Ratings
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  • Yalumba The Signature Cabernet/Shiraz 2009 Front Label
    Yalumba The Signature Cabernet/Shiraz 2009
    Other Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
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  • 3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Front Label
    3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2009
    Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
    • WS89
    4.1 9 Ratings
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  • Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2009 Front Label
    St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2009
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009
    Pinot Noir from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2009 Front Label
    Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2009
    Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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    • WE90
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  • Emiliana Ge (Certified Biodynamic) 2009 Front Label
    Emiliana Ge (Certified Biodynamic) 2009
    Other Red Blends from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
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    • RP91
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  • Cayuse En Chamberlin Syrah 2009 Front Label
    Cayuse En Chamberlin Syrah 2009
    Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE99
    • RP97
    • WS96
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