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In Good Taste

Biodynamic, Organic, Vegan, and Natural Wines

Biodynamic, Organic, Vegan, and Natural Wines

Explore Eco-Friendly Wines

For many, “eco-friendly” has gone from a catchy buzzword to a way of life. Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, opting to drive vehicles with lower emissions, shop with reusable grocery bags, steer away from fast fashion, install energy-friendly home appliances, and eat local foods when they are available. There are eco-friendly alternatives to almost every consumable product, and wine is no exception!

4 types of eco-friendly or sustainable wines - organic, biodynamic, natural and vegan

For all of our earth-loving wine drinkers out there, we’re looking at four different types of eco-friendly wines; biodynamic wine, organic wine, vegan wine, and natural wine. Chances are, you may already know about one or all of these types of wine, but what is the difference between them? Do they really live up to the hype?

Biodynamic Wine

According to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, biodynamic farming is “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production, and nutrition.” Biodynamic farmers view their farm or vineyard as one solid organism — a self-sustaining ecosystem. These farming philosophies and practices apply a holistic approach to the entire farming cycle. 

The idea behind biodynamic farming predates the modern-day organic movement. A philosopher named Rudolph Steiner started practicing biodynamic agriculture back in the 1920s. He had a deep-rooted (pun definitely intended) belief that one could live and farm in harmony with the Earth. Biodynamic farms and vineyards follow the Biodynamic Calendar, which is largely based on astronomical factors, such as the phases of the moon. Based on this calendar, planting activities are broken into four different days:

  • Fruit Days - ideal for harvesting

  • Root Days - best for pruning

  • Flowering Days - do nothing to the vines

  • Leaf Days - best for watering 

Biodynamic Wine Infographic - what is biodynamic wine

Biodynamic farms and vineyards use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Instead, they fertilize the soil naturally using natural compost and manure from various animals that live on the farm. In one of the most popular fertilizing methods, cow horns are hollowed out and filled with a special compost mixture. The horns are then buried for up to six months before being dug up again. The mixture in the horns is then used to fertilize plants around the farm or vineyard. 

The standards to become a certified Biodynamic farm or vineyard are quite strict. These standards are set by the Demeter Association and used worldwide. While biodynamic farms can be found around the globe, they are most popular in Europe. While some skepticism exists about biodynamic practices, many farmers and vintners have observed a positive impact on vine yields, soil quality, and overall biodiversity. When a wine is certified biodynamic or Demeter, you’ll find a mention of this on the label.

So, do biodynamic wines taste any different than conventional wines? That depends on who you ask. Those who swear by the practice argue that biodynamic wines have higher quality in their flavor profile; however, most wine tasters agree that there is no discernable difference between the two. 

Organic Wine

Organic wine is made with grapes grown without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. All of the additional ingredients used to make the wine must also be certified organic, and there can be no added sulfates. It is worth noting that there is a difference between organic wines and wines that are simply made with organic grapes. Organic wines are more popular in the United States than in any other country, because organic farming practices tend to be more costly. This is often reflected in the price of a bottle of organic wine. However, this does not necessarily indicate higher quality, as organic wines do not taste any different from conventional wine. Many wineries are considered “Napa Green” and practice sustainable farming methods, but for one reason or another do not feel called to go through the rigorous and expensive process of being certified organic.

What are Organic Wines?

The qualifications for a wine to be considered organic are not quite as stringent as those for biodynamic classification, but they’re still strict. Organic wine standards vary by country rather than following a single worldwide standard. However, the list of these requirements to be organic can still be quite long, and they are subject to the governing body of the wine’s country of origin. In the United States, organic wine standards are determined by the USDA. In Europe, standards are managed by the ECOCERT.

Vegan Wine

Wine is just fermented grape juice, right? Doesn’t that make it vegan by default? Fair question, but there’s a bit more to it than that. 

The definition of vegan wine has some nuance. Generally, the vegan classification means that no animal products were used during the production of the wine. In some instances, egg whites or casein might be used to remove sediment from the wine, milk-based glues could be used as binding agents in agglomerated corks, and beeswax could be used to seal bottles. Any of these practices would keep wine from being considered vegan. Winemakers who produce vegan wine use plant-based or synthetic alternatives for all of these processes. 

Vegan Wine uses no animal products

It’s worth noting, however, that this definition of vegan wine only refers to how the grapes are handled after harvest. For hardcore vegans, how the grapes are grown is also an important point of interest. Are animals used to help harvest the grapes? Is animal manure used to fertilize the vines? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, vegan purists may argue that the wine is not truly vegan. Following this strict definition of vegan, many biodynamic and organic wines would not be considered vegan. 

Natural Wine

Rounding out our list of eco-friendly wines, we have a variety that’s become more popular in the 21st century: natural wine. 

While natural wine may seem like a fad, the technique used to make it is very traditional — ancient, even. The modern natural wine movement began in rural France in the 20th century. Eventually, its popularity came to the United States in the early 2000s, and the trend has grown ever since. 

Natural wine is made with hand-picked organic or biodynamically grown grapes that were never exposed to pesticides or herbicides. Once the grapes are harvested and pressed, the resulting juice is fermented without additives. Unlike vegan wine, which tastes essentially the same as conventional wine, natural wine typically features a distinct taste that’s often described as “funky” or “barnyard-y.” It doesn’t get more natural than that! 

Natural Wines are made from organic or biodynamic grapes

When it comes to qualification standards or guidelines, there is no association or governing body that determines when a wine is “natural.” Although some parameters guide natural wine classification, there are currently no official distinctions for natural wines. Fittingly, the natural wine movement seems to be growing … well, naturally. 

Intrigued and ready to try an eco-friendly wine? You’re in luck — there are plenty of options to choose from! Whether you’re interested in the funky flavors of natural wine or simply want to offer a vegan option at your next dinner party, there are several wine options to choose from that are delicious and environmentally friendly. To find what you’re looking for, just look at the back of the bottle. Winemakers who produce natural and vegan wines are understandably proud of their products, so you’ll usually find the information you’re looking for right there on the label.

BLOGS / INFOGRAPHIC

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Summer Picks

Our Favorites

Warm, sunny days require wines that are crisp and oh-so refreshing. With two delicious rosés and a delightful Sauvignon Blanc, our Summer Picks are the perfect addition to your sunshine-filled adventures.

$61.97

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California Wine Mixer Top 3

Our Favorites

Californian wine is a state of mind. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and Red Wine from our California Wine Mixer bundle can transport your state of mind (and palate) all the way to The Golden State.

$77.97

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International Whites

Our Favorites

Experience a world-class wine tour for your tastebuds from the comfort of home. This bundle features incredible selections from France and Italy that will have you ready to grab your passport and hop a plane.

$67.97

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Vine Voyage Top 3

Our Favorites

The Vine Voyage bundle will remind you why France and Italy are two of the most well-known, wine-producing countries in the world. Take your senses to the European countryside with Montepulciano, Rosé of Sangiovese, and Nerello Cappuccio.

$58.97

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Light Reds

Our Favorites

Like the infectious laugh of a best friend, these wines will warm your soul and lighten your mood. Our Light Reds bundle with a Grenache, Coteaux Borguignons AOC, and Pinot Noir are sure to be your new wine besties!

$79.97

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Big Reds

Our Favorites

Big. Bold. Unapologetic. The rich, unmistakable flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Bordeaux Rouge in our Big Reds collection are perfect for the unwavering palate that demands something more.

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Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.

$19.99

Sauvignon Blanc

La Pluma

We couldn't have rosé and Pinot Grigio at the La Pluma party without inviting its ring leader, Sauvignon Blanc. If Pinot Grigio is the dry, acidic friend of the group and rosé is the always highly affable one, Sauvignon Blanc exists between the two to create true Zen. An interesting and addictive blend of grapefruits and herbs set this white wine apart and makes it incredibly difficult to resist, especially when the temperature is high and your desire for refreshment is higher. La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect poolside or beach companion; just be sure to bring a few bottles because your friends will definitely want to partake, and we don't blame them!

$23.99

Barbera

Wild Child

The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unprecedented

If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

$34.99

Rosé

La Pluma

While it's the unofficial official wine of summer and warm weather situations, La Pluma's Rosé is one you can drink year-round, no matter the occasion. All rosé wine is derived from red grapes, and the result exceeds expectations in terms of highly-sippable, easy-drinking wine. This La Pluma Rosé is as light as its feathery namesake and is best served extremely chilled for an extremely chill afternoon of nothing but vibes. And maybe a few snacks.

$17.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

This is not your average Italian red. Nerello Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, the Mount Etna region to be exact (yes, the volcano). Although its color is vibrant, you might be surprised to know that it’s a much softer red than it looks to be. Our Nerello Cappuccio is cherry-forward, with other tasting notes of vanilla, light coffee (like your favorite breakfast blend), and minerals. The delicate tannins in this Sicilian wine will surprise and delight you and tastes exceptionally good paired with margherita pizza or arancini balls (drool).

$17.99

Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. This full-bodied and diverse wine is polarizing in its very nature: from an oak barrel-aged buttery, oaky, rich white wine, to a stainless steel-aged, mineral-driven neutral wine. Our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay is the former, and will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like-minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

$33.00

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

Unprecedented

We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

$24.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Tempranillo

Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

$27.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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