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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
    • D95
    • WS93
    • WW93
    4.7 60 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
    • WE93
    • WS91
    4.1 225 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $26.99
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    34
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  • I Giusti and Zanza Nemorino Rosso 2016  Front Label
    I Giusti and Zanza Nemorino Rosso 2016
    Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS91
    • WE90
    4.0 18 Ratings
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    30
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  • Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WW93
    4.5 5 Ratings
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  • Chateau Coutet St. Emilion  2016  Front Label
    Chateau Coutet St. Emilion 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
    • WE92
    • JS90
    4.8 22 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
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  • Chateau La Mondotte  2016 Front Label
    Chateau La Mondotte 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
    • JD98
    • JS97
    • V97
    • WS96
    • WE96
    • RP95
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $299.99
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  • Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
    • WS96
    • WW94
    • WE94
    • JS93
    4.8 18 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $139.99
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    150
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  • Chateau Blaignan  2016  Front Label
    Chateau Blaignan 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Medoc, Bordeaux, France
    • JS92
    • WE90
    4.4 41 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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    22 99
    22 99
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  • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2016  Front Label
    Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • JS93
    • JD90
    4.5 21 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $37.99
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  • Keenan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Keenan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
    • JS92
    • RP90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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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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    299 99
    299 99
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  • Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  Front Label
    Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
    • D93
    • RP92
    • JS91
    • WW91
    4.6 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $74.99
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    74 99
    74 99
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  • Ceretto Barbaresco 2016  Front Label
    Ceretto Barbaresco 2016
    Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
    • WS94
    • JS93
    • RP92
    4.5 6 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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    90
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  • Domaine Laroque Cite de Carcassonne Pinot Noir 2016  Front Label
    Domaine Laroque Cite de Carcassonne Pinot Noir 2016
    Pinot Noir from France
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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
      4.0 32 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $27.99
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      27 99
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    • d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2016  Front Label
      d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2016
      Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
      • D95
      • JS94
      • RP94
      • W&S94
      • WE92
      4.6 15 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $58.99
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      58 99
      58 99
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    • Aalto  2016 Front Label
      Aalto 2016
      Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
      • RP95
      • JD94
      4.4 26 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $49.99
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    • Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016  Front Label
      Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016
      Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
      • WE93
      • WW93
      • RP93
      • JS91
      4.4 7 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $43.99
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      43 99
      43 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
      4.1 6 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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      44 99
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    • Merryvale Merlot 2016  Front Label
      Merryvale Merlot 2016
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        4.9 6 Ratings
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      • Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
        Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel 2016
        Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
        • WS93
        0.0 0 Ratings
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      • Stephane Aviron Fleurie Domaine de la Madriere 2016  Front Label
        Stephane Aviron Fleurie Domaine de la Madriere 2016
        Gamay from Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
        • RP90
        0.0 0 Ratings
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      • Bodegas Mas Alta Artigas Priorat 2016  Front Label
        Bodegas Mas Alta Artigas Priorat 2016
        Rhone Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
        • RP92
        4.1 15 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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        29 99
        29 99
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      • Bodega Noemia de Patagonia J. Alberto Malbec 2016 Front Label
        Bodega Noemia de Patagonia J. Alberto Malbec 2016
        Malbec from Patagonia, Argentina
        • RP94
        • JS94
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $46.99
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        52
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      • Odfjell Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Front Label
        Odfjell Armador Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
        • JS92
        3.1 26 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $13.99
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        13 99
        13 99
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