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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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  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Reserve Carmenere 2012 Front Label
    Miguel Torres Santa Digna Reserve Carmenere 2012
    Carmenere from Chile
    • WW89
    4.2 6 Ratings
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  • Lapostolle Canto de Apalta Red Blend 2012 Front Label
    Lapostolle Canto de Apalta Red Blend 2012
    Other Red Blends from Rapel Valley, Chile
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    • JS91
    • WW90
    3.7 24 Ratings
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  • Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2012 Front Label
    Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2012
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa, South Australia, Australia
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $16.99
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    20
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  • Wirra Wirra Dead Ringer Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Front Label
    Wirra Wirra Dead Ringer Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
    • WS91
    • RP91
    • WW91
    0.0 0 Ratings
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  • Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WW90
    3.9 26 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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  • Angove Family Winemakers The Medhyk Shiraz 2012 Front Label
    Angove Family Winemakers The Medhyk Shiraz 2012
    Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
    • WW92
    • WE92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $99.99
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  • Giesen Clayvin Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    Giesen Clayvin Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand
    • JS94
    • WW93
    • BH91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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  • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2012 Front Label
    Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE92
    • WW90
    4.2 22 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $64.99
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  • Viluko Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Front Label
    Viluko Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
    • WW91
    • RP90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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  • WillaKenzie Estate Gisele Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    WillaKenzie Estate Gisele Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WW90
    • WS90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $33.99
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  • Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WS92
    • WE91
    • TP91
    • WW90
    3.9 10 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $28.99
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  • Raptor Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    Raptor Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WW92
    • WS91
    • WE90
    4.0 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $41.99
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  • Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Front Label
    Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • RP93
    • WW92
    • WS92
    • JS92
    3.9 13 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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    59 99
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  • Clos Apalta  2012 Front Label
    Clos Apalta 2012
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Chile
    • JS96
    • WW96
    • WE94
    • WS93
    • RP91
    4.9 10 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $124.99
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  • Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Red 2012 Front Label
    Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Red 2012
    Other Red Blends from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
    • WW89
    3.7 10 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $10.98
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  • Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012 Front Label
    Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WW90
    4.9 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $159.97
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  • Henri Bourgeois Chateaumeillant Solissime 2012 Front Label
    Henri Bourgeois Chateaumeillant Solissime 2012
    Pinot Noir from Loire, France
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    17 99
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  • Maimai Merlot 2012 Front Label
    Maimai Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
    • WW91
    4.0 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    20
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  • Clos Henri Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    Clos Henri Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand
    • RP92
    • WW91
    • BH91
    • WE91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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  • Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (375ML) 2012 Front Label
    Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (375ML) 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • RP93
    • WW92
    • WS92
    • JS92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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    39 99
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  • WillaKenzie Estate Kiana Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    WillaKenzie Estate Kiana Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • WE92
    • WS92
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $62.99
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    62 99
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  • La Playa Axel Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Front Label
    La Playa Axel Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
    • WW89
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.98
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    20
    17 98
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  • Carrick Unravelled Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
    Carrick Unravelled Pinot Noir 2012
    Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand
    • WW91
    • W&S90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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    30
    27 99
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  • Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WW91
    • TP90
    3.8 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    25
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  • Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2012 Front Label
    Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • WS91
    • WW91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $129.99
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