Wine Cheat-Sheet: the difference between organic, natural and biodynamic

My last post on natural wine raised a few questions. So here is  a cheat-sheet to differentiate  natural, organic and biodynamic wines.

For a detailed explanation about this, see my last post here.

For this cheat-sheet, I will steal the definition of Isabelle Legeron:

“Natural wine is made from grapes that are (…) farmed organically or biodynamically, harvested manually and then made withou adding/or removing anything  during the vinification process. “

So, we can consider natural wines to be :

  • Made with the  little to none use of chemicals, additives (over 200 are allowed in normal production!)
  • Made without technological procedures or manipulations which aim to  erase the individuality of the product and the place (which is called we the”terroir”).

It is a beautiful and handmade process to make natural wines!

The photo from Isabelle Legeron’s website below makes a strong case in favor of natural winemaking:

Captura de Tela 2017-02-02 às 21.06.29.png


Organic and Biodynamic wines refers to how the grape is cultivated, not  the wine-making process.

Wine made with organic grapes: i.e.  no pesticides or chemicals are  used in the vine.

One note of advice: most organic wines available are not natural – one can add anything else during the winemaking process.  Many small producers (who actually harvest organic grapes) don’t have the certification on their bottles because it is quite expensive.
Wine made with biodynamic grapes.

This is a a method of viticulture that uses particular herbal fertilizers and products applied according to a lunar calendar. Behind biodynamic cultivation is the idea that the  soil is a living being which needs biodiversity to thrive.  Many biodynamic producers live and work in self-sufficient lands, with animals, fruits and other produce.



In case of doubt, think:

  • Natural wines: all about the process
  • Organic and Biodynamic: all about the grapes

If you are interested in natural wines, don’t miss the RAW Wine Fair, coming to London in March!




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