What makes wine Organic and Biodynamic?

Published by Tamara Harrison - 5th Jan 2021

With innovative winemakers fusing ancient winemaking traditions with modern, cutting-edge techniques, wines that are Organic and Biodynamic – and as a result, deemed more sustainable than their non-Organic, non-Biodynamic counterparts – have seen a surge in popularity.

But understanding what makes a drop meet an environmentally conscious wine drinker’s criteria is easier said than done. While some wines include words like Organic in their name and others rely on their Certified Organic logo, a winemaker’s motivations for choosing alternative styles can get lost in the noise.

We caught up with a few of our winemakers to find out what makes them take on the extra effort that Organic and Biodynamic winemaking practices involve.

Are Organic and Biodynamic wine the same thing?

At their core, Organic and Biodynamic wine seek to honour the environment, focusing on holistic, ecological and ethical farming practices. And, while both fall under the category of Organic wine, their production methods distinguish one from the other, with Biodynamics – an advanced form of Organic winemaking – requiring a complex set of preparations.

What makes wine Organic?

Organic wine, or wine without artificial additives, involves the use of Certified Organic products that are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or GMOs. In Australia and New Zealand, Organic vineyards and wineries are certified after three years of Organic management, with assessments following every year. 

It’s a process that Emma and Swan, half of the Altschwager & Kenneally team, know well. Their Tapi and Culley Road collections, which include crisp whites from Marlborough and lush reds from McLaren Vale, pay homage to the quality of fruit that each region yields. 

“Organic wine is most often the best expression of both the grape and the terroir, the land and environment in which it is grown.” Emma Kenneally, A & K

But for our intrepid winemakers who craft a variety of wine in both Australia and New Zealand, Organic winemaking is about more than just avoiding chemicals. 

“It’s a holistic means of growing and handling food. The whole system is linked; soil, plants, animals, food, people and the environment.” Swan Altschwager, A & K

Put simply – Organic wine is better for you and the environment!

When is wine Biodynamic?

Like Organic wine, Biodynamic practices skip the synthetics, opting to enrich and balance the ground by uniting cosmic and terrestrial forces instead. By considering the specifics of location, climate and culture, Biodynamic principles can be applied to vineyards to help structure the soil, protect vines from certain diseases and encourage photosynthesis. 

Derek Hooper has perfected Biodynamic practices over the years through the use of cow horns, lending to his much loved Obelisk Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wine. By burying the horns – filled with cow manure or clear crystal quartz – in his vineyard during specific seasons, the soil activity is stimulated, ultimately encouraging stronger, more compact leaf growth and heightened flavour. 

“I believe the rich humus that develops from the cow horn is in direct relation to the composition of the horn itself! Biodynamic farmers over the years have tried several other vessels such as earthenware pots and glass and there is nothing that even comes close.” – Derek Hooper, Obelisk Wines

Where can I find Organic and Biodynamic wine?

The demand for Organic and Biodynamic wine, alongside Vegan and Vegetarian varieties, has been on the rise, which means you can find over 200 bottles on the Naked shelves! Simply search for Organic wine on nakedwines.com.au or click here to dive in.