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Green / Sustainable Wine & Spirits

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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    Staglin Chardonnay 2017
    Chardonnay from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
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    Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2017
    Chardonnay from California
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    Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles 2017
    Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
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    Domaine Zafeirakis Chardonnay 2017
    Chardonnay from Greece
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      Brocard Vau de Vey Premier Cru Chablis 2017
      Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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      Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2017
      Pinot Gris/Grigio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
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      Hall Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017
      Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California
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      Henri Costal Chablis Les Truffieres 2017
      Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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        Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Cote des Monts Damnes 2017
        Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, Loire, France
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        • D91
        4.4 24 Ratings
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        MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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        • W&S90
        3.8 14 Ratings
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        Shannon Ridge High Elevation Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from Lake County, North Coast, California
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        3.7 5 Ratings
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        ZD Wines Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from California
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        4.4 7 Ratings
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        Novellum Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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        3.9 32 Ratings
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        Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2017
        Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
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        Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2017
        Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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          Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2017
          Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
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          Parducci Small Lot Chardonnay 2017
          Chardonnay from Mendocino, California
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          4.3 9 Ratings
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          King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2017
          Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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            Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche Premier Cru 2017
            Chardonnay from Chassagne-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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            • BH93
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            Vietti Roero Arneis 2017
            Arneis from Roero, Piedmont, Italy
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            4.0 19 Ratings
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            Hess Select Chardonnay 2017
            Chardonnay from Monterey, Central Coast, California
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              Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Fuisse 2017
              Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuisse, Maconnais, Burgundy, France
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                Wente Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc 2017
                Sauvignon Blanc from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
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                McManis Family Vineyards River Junction Chardonnay 2017
                Chardonnay from California
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                3.7 17 Ratings
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                Quinta de Azevedo Reserva Vinho Verde 2017
                Other White Blends from Vinho Verde, Portugal
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