Q: What is Organic Wine?
A: The most basic definition of organic wine is wine made from organically farmed grapes. The standards for what constitutes “organic farming” vary from country to country, but generally excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
And then, there is the second phase of winemaking, fermentation of the grapes into wine. This is where it gets more confusing. There are a number of inputs that can be added to the fermentation process, but for organic certification, these ingredients must be specifically allowed and cannot exceed 5% of the total product.
Q: What do natural wines taste like?
A: Since these wines are unregulated, taste is going to vary dramatically. Generally speaking, natural wines are funkier, gamier, have yeastier characteristics, a cloudy appearance and often times have sediment floating around in the bottom of the bottle. A lot of the time their aroma is going to be far more yeasty than fruity, but of course because there are no standards – you may also find yourself with a clean and fruity natural wine as well.
Q: What is Orange Wine?
A: Orange wine is produced with skin contact of white grapes (hence the wine’s nickname “skin contact white.”) Instead of gently pressing grapes and immediately removing the skins to leave clear juice behind, like in white winemaking, a winemaker looking to produce orange wine crushes white grapes and allows the skins and seeds to spend time with the juice.
Q: What is Sustainable Wine?
A: A sustainable wine means that the farming and winemaking practices of the vineyards are eco-friendly. To be certified as sustainable, wineries have an independent third party to analyze the vinification practices and see if they meet the required standards.
Some of the evaluation includes if their practices are environmentally stable while still producing high-quality wine. Sustainable vineyards and winery practices consist of conserving water, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining healthy soil while protecting the air and water quality. Also, they typically strengthen relationships with the community and employees to preserve local ecosystems and wildlife, educating those around them about their practices.