There are two main definitions of an organic wine in circulation:
Europe: “a wine made from certified organically grown grapes and vinified organically but may contain added sulphites”
USA: “a wine made from certified organically grown grapes without added sulphites”
In Europe the Organic process for certification is managed by Ecocert and all wines approved carry the green leaf Ecocert logo.
Organic Wine Certification extends to both the viticulture (growing the grapes) and the viniculture (making the wine)
Organic Vitification (Grape growing)
The Growers must not use Synthetic or Artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to manage the vineyard. Instead they are encouraged to use:
Introduction of predatory insects to manage insects which damage the Vines or grapes
Using a “Bordeaux mixture” of water, copper sulphate and lime to combat Mildew
Planting other plants between the vines to encourage pollination. Roses are popular at the end of the rows of vines.
Use of manure and natural composts.
Grazing of geese, chickens and rabbits between the vines both cuts competing plants and fertilizes naturally
Organic Vinification (Wine making)
According to Ecocert the following practises are prohibited
- Elimination of Sulphur Dioxide by physical processes
- Sorbic acid prohibited
- Partial de-alcoholisation of wine
- Partial concentration of wines through cooling
- Sulphite levels permitted in the table below.
Maximum Sulphite levels allowed in Organic wine making:
Reds- 100mg/litre for reds (conventional at 150mg/L) if under 2mg/L residual sugar.
120mg/Litre for reds (conventional at 150mg/L) if over 2mg/L residual sugar
Whites- 150mg/Litre for whites and roses (conventional at 200mg/L) if under 2mg/L residual sugar.
130 mg/Litre for whites and roses (conventional 200mg/L) if over 2mg/L residual sugar.
Sweet- 270mg/Litre for sweet (without botrytis) wines (conventional at 300mg/L)
370 mg/L for sweet botrytis wines (400mg/L for conventional)