Eco-Friendly Sustainable Organic Bio-Dynamic What's the Dif?

By: Ange Aiello

To rev up for our iYellow Green Wine Tour in April here is a quick Green Wine Defined article to keep you up to date with what's green in the world of wine!

Eco-Friendly basically means being friendly towards the ecology and eco-systems of the earth (i.e. being nice to and thoughtful of the interactions between living organisms and the earth). This means not purposefully destroying natural resources for personal and/or corporate gain.

Growers, winemakers and winery persons are in turn thinking of how the earthly resources will be affected by their daily interactions with them and making sure they treat them with respect and integrity for future

Many Wineries are going green with eco-friendly agriculture preservations and use. i.e. Using canvas wine bags, instead of plastic non-biodegradable bags are ECO-FRIENDLY.

Sustainability refers to utilizing business practices that allow for the land and eco-system to be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. In short, they leave the land they way they found it and don't harm the earth to make wine. i.e. Most Niagara Wineries use sustainable winemaking practices.

Now Organic is tricky, there are 2 interpretations so read carefully.

#1 "Organic Grapes" means that the grapes have been cultivated in an organic matter (without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides), however not everything in the entire winemaking process is done organically. More than likely there is an addition of sulphites (which is a chemical use to preserve the wine) above a certain percentage as sulphites do appear naturally in wine.

#2 "Organic Wine"
Means that wine is made from grapes that have been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. It also means that winemaking techniques such as little or no manipulation of wines by reverse osmosis, excessive filtration, or flavor additives (such as oak chips) have been utilized. Many organic winemakers also prefer wild yeasts for fermentation. Basically when a wine is called an "Organic wine" everything from the grapes to the winemaking process is done on an organic level. Therefore no extra sulphites (a chemical used in winemaking to preserve the wine) have been added to the wine. It contains only natural preservatives. Note: Canadian Organic standards vs. American allow for a some (though very little) addition of sulphites.

Bio-dynamic wines, or grape growing agriculture is an interesting topic. Basically it means that the area that works within the vineyard is regarded as its very own eco system. The ideas of natural composting (such as natural manure) are widely used and there are no artificial chemicals used in the soil, or on the vines themselves. Vineyard maintenance is also done completely by an astrological calendar of signs which depict the perfect time for planting and harvest.

What is Local? We all know that going local is the 'new' way to support not only our own economy but to also ensure that you know where your food is grown and harvested. I say 'new' only because only recently have we started to become fully aware of where we purchase our food and where it ultimately comes from as well as the processes undertaken to get the food to your door.

The 100 Mile diet has become quite the hype and as it should be. Supporting your local growers and keeping the Canadian Economy thriving should be a priority on anyone's list, but more importantly going local as Wiki puts it is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place"

VQA is short for Vintners Quality Alliance. It is a Canadian control board that governs the Canadian wine making process. Wine that is labeled "VQA" is 100% Ontario grown and made with no imported grapes. So when you are buying local, always be sure to double check the label to ensure that the local wine you are buying is truly a VQA local wine, not "Cellared in Canada."

For more info on:
Sustainable Winemaking in Ontario Click here
Canadian Organic Wine Click Here
Bonterra Organically Grown Grapes In California Click Here
Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Click Here
Local Food Click here
Local Food Plus Click here
GTA Local Food Click Here
VQA Click here