8 Buyers, 1 Store, 8000 Wines

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In the spirit of Earth Day, I thought I would write about green wines and what they mean to us at 67 Wine and Spirits.

There are many styles of green’ wines and, just like food, what you decide to purchase and consume is totally up to you. Organic, ‘organically grown,’ ‘certified organic,’ Biodynamic, ‘Demeter-certified Biodynamic,’ and even ‘sustainably farmed’ are all terms that might appear on ‘green’ wine labels.
It might help to define what these different labels mean in our store. Organic wine is farmed without herbicides or pesticides. At 67 Wine and Spirits, we prefer proof of these practices, and both Bart and I work hard to avoid labeling things don’t meet our standards. There are several certification organizations for organic wines; however, a lot of artisan vineyards do not apply for certification, as the cost is high (an average of $10,000 to become certified organic). However, once a vineyard is certified, we are happy to tell you about them. There are several that even allow it on the label:
I’m also a proponent of listing ingredients on wine bottles, though very, very few wineries want this, and none of the big ones will agree to it. 
Biodynamic farming has caught on in a big way in the wine industry, and some of the most famous domaines in the world (Romanée Conti, Pontet-Canet and Araujo) use this style of farming. Biodynamics is a type of holistic agriculture developed by Rudolf Steiner; it’s stringently organic and hinges on nine unique preparations to be used as sprays or compost in the vineyard, each applied at ideal times. Sowing, planting and even tasting are timed to a phenomenal calendar of root days, fruit days, and flower days. We use the Thun calendar for tastings. Unfortunately, our tasting started one hour too late —  it was a fruit day up until 3 p.m, but at 4 p.m. it became a root day. Ah, well.
Demeter is the name of the certification organization for biodynamic wines. So if you have any doubt about if a wine is organic or biodynamic, buy one that has these symbols on the label. 
One final thing I would like to touch on: natural wine. This type of wine, at least for us at 67 Wine and Spirits, is defined as a wine that is at least organic, with no added sulfur. I love these very pure, very delicious wines — as they leave me feeling better after drinking them! 
If you have questions about natural, organic or biodynamic wines, seek out Bart or me. I can recommend a few excellent books and blogs, as well as the newsletter ‘The Feiring Line’ by wine writer Alice Feiring.
-Ben Wood


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