La différence entre vin conventionnel, bio, biodynamique & naturel

The Difference Between Conventional, Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wine ?

What differentiates natural, organic, biodynamic and conventional wine is not an appellation, a wine-making technique, a grape variety or a color, but the synthetic chemicals and oenological inputs used in the vineyard and during the vinification. Explanation…

What is Conventional Wine ?

Conventional wines are wines whose cultivation and vinification do not respect the principles of organic or biodynamic agriculture and use synthetic chemicals.

What is Organic Wine ?

Organic wines are wines resulting from agriculture and vinification without synthetic chemicals. The main AB and Bio Europe labels (now having the same specifications) guarantee this approach.

At the start, the European specifications regulating “wine from organic viticulture” only took into account the area of viticulture and not winemaking. This means that a wine made from organic grapes but for which synthetic chemicals were used during winemaking could receive certification. Since 2012, the new specifications, renamed “organic wine”, have been stricter. Inputs (oenological products used for winemaking) are now taken into account. Even if a large number remain authorized …

What is Biodynamic Wine ?

Inspired by the theories developed by Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic agriculture is based on esoteric practices. With the principle that the soil is a living matter, it aspires to its balance and its dynamism by taking into account the influence of the attraction of the planets and the moon.

Indeed, for any operation in the vineyard or in the vinification, biodynamics is based on a specific calendar. Depending on the positions of the stars and their forces of attraction influencing the living (eg the moon on the tide), certain days are more favorable to root operations (eg: planting), fruit (eg: harvest), etc…

The two main labels guaranteeing a biodynamic practice are : Biodyvin and Demeter.

What is Natural Wine ?

Even if it seems so, the definition of natural wine is not that simple. To summarize, it’s a wine made from vines cultivated without synthetic chemicals and of which no inputs (except 30mg / l Total SO2) were added during the vinification. 100% grape.

Les Produits Autorisés pour la Culture de la Vigne :

Conventional Wine

All synthetic chemicals authorized in agriculture. There are many … (insecticides, herbicides, plant growth regulators, …)

Organic Wine

You can use chemicals of natural origin, but also some synthetic products… Calcium hydroxide, paraffin oil (obtained from petroleum) and the famous “copper compounds” (copper hydroxide, copper oxychloride, cuprous oxide, tribasic copper sulphate…).

Biodynamic Wine

Basically, they are the same principles as organic farming, except that biodynamics goes further. Trying to improve the natural exchanges between the soil and the roots, the sky and the leaves, and also in order to prevent or fight diseases, the winegrowers use natural potions based on infusions or maceration of plants sprayed at homeopathic dose. To revitalize the soil, they use cow dung, which they bury in an ox horn, for the development of roots and microbial life.

Natural Wine

The vines must be managed in organic or biodynamic agriculture.

Authorized Oenological Inputs :

Conventional Wine

Ascorbic acid / Citric acid / L (+) tartaric acid / L-ascorbic acid / L-malic acid D, L malic / Lactic acid / Malic acid / Metatartaric acid / Tartaric acid / Acidification by electromembrane treatment / Egg albumin / Anhydride sulphurous / Self enrichment by evaporation / Self enrichment by reverse osmosis / Autolysates of yeasts / Lactic bacteria / Barrels and casks / Bentonite / Beta-glucanases / Potassium bicarbonate / Potassium bisulfite / Ammonium bisulfite / Potassium bisulfite / Oak wood / Calcium carbonate / Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) / Potassium caseinate / Casein / Wine charcoal / Chitin-glucan / Chitosan / Copper citrate / Fish glue / Thiamine dihydrochloride / Silicon dioxide / Yeast bark / Electrodialysis / Electrodialysis with membrane bipolar / Yeast cell envelopes / Beta-glucanase enzymes / Evaporation / Yeast protein extract / Alcoholic fermentation spontaneous / Flash pasteurization / Silica gel / Gelatin / Gum arabic / Cellulose gum (CMC) / Di-ammonium hydrogen phosphate / Potassium hydrogen tartrate / Inactivated yeast / Inactivated yeast with guaranteed content / Dry active yeast (LSA) / Lysozyme / Mannoproteins from yeasts / Protein matter of plant origin from wheat, peas or potatoes / Potassium metabisulphite / Tangential microfiltration / Pieces of oak wood / Concentrated must / Rectified concentrated must / Reverse osmosis / Ovalbumin / Diammonium phosphate / Polyasparpate of potassium / Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone / Tartaric precipitation by cold treatment / Enzymatic preparations (pectinases) / PVPP / Cation exchange resin / Sucrose / SO2 / Cold stabilization / Sugar / Copper sulphate / Ammonium sulphate / Wine tannins / Neutral tartrate of potassium / Thiamine

Organic Wine

Citric acid / L (+) tartaric acid / L-ascorbic acid / Lactic acid / Metatartaric acid / Egg albumin (Ovalbumin) / Self enrichment by evaporation / Self enrichment by reverse osmosis / Lactic acid bacteria / Bentonite / Potassium bisulfite / Metabisulfite potassium / Potassium bicarbonate / Calcium carbonate / Potassium caseinate / Casein / Wine charcoal / Copper citrate / Fish paste / Thiamine dihydrochloride / Silicon dioxide (silica gel) / Yeast bark / Spontaneous alcoholic fermentation / Gelatin / Gum arabic / Di-ammonium hydrogenphosphate (diammonium phosphate) / Potassium hydrogen tartrate (Cream of tartar) / Active dry yeasts (LSA) / Protein matter of plant origin from wheat or peas / Tangential microfiltration / Pieces of oak wood / Concentrated must / Rectified concentrated must / Enzymatic preparations (pectinases) / Sucrose (Sugar) / Copper sulphate / Wine tannins es / Neutral potassium tartrate / Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

Biodynamic Wine

Egg albumin (Ovalbumin) / Sulfur dioxide (SO²) / Bentonite / Oenological charcoal / Sucrose (Sugar)

Natural Wine

Sulfur dioxide (SO²)

The Quantity of Sulfites Allowed:

Conventional Wine

A red wine can contain up to 150 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

While a white or rosé wine can contain up to 200 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

Organic Wine

An organic red wine can contain up to 100 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

While a white or rosé wine can contain up to 150 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

Biodynamic Wine

A biodynamic red wine can contain up to 60 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

While a white wine or rosé can contain up to 90 mg / l total SO2 (sulfites).

Natural Wine

Regarding sulphites, the definition of a natural wine poses a problem… Some will tell you that a natural wine is free sulfites, while others will affirm that a red, white or rosé wine called natural can contain up to 40 – 30 mg / l total SO2 (sulphites).

What is the Difference Between Organic and Biodynamic Wine ?

👉 Thanks to the explanations above, we can see that the main difference between an organic and biodynamic wine is that the specifications of biodynamic are stricter. In the vineyard, to have the biodynamic label, the winemaker sprays potions of plants, and to promote microbial life in the soil, he uses cow dung buried in an ox horn. It must also respect the lunar calendar, which is not the case with the organic label.
Finally, during vinification, the Demeter or Biodyvin labels allow less oenological inputs (including the famous exogenous yeasts which change the organoleptic profile of a wine), and a lower number of added sulphites. The vinification is therefore much more natural.

What is the Difference Between Natural and Organic Wine ?

👉 A natural wine is necessarily an organic wine, but the reverse is not true. In the vineyard, no difference is to be notified. However, as we have seen previously, the organic label, during vinification, authorizes more than 40 oenological inputs in order to correct or guide the wine (for acidification, add wood chips, etc.). While a natural wine only allows the addition of low doses of sulphites (30 mg/total SO2). What makes a big difference… it’s not called a “natural” wine for nothing…!

What is the Difference Between Natural and Biodynamic Wine ?

👉 The difference between a natural and biodynamic wine can sometimes seem vague when you are not a connoisseur… Because a natural wine can be a biodynamic wine. But not necessarily… it can simply come from vines from organic farming (in this case, it does not respect the Biodyvin or Demeter specifications). And the reverse is also true…
You just remembered that a biodynamic wine allows, during vinification, some oenological inputs and more sulphites than natural wine. While natural wine only allows 30 mg/SO2 total sulphites (and no other inputs). Even if it may seem close, it makes a great difference in the mouth!

What is the Difference Between Natural Wine and Regular Wine ?

👉 The difference between a conventional and natural wine is quite huge… It’s almost not the same thing… A conventional wine comes from vines in which it is authorized to use synthetic chemicals, whereas those from a natural wine must be at least organic (and some biodynamic).
And the other big difference is found during the vinification. It is allowed in a regular wine to add almost a hundred products in order to correct and direct the wine (the list of products is available above in the article), as well as 200 mg/l total SO2 for white and rosé wines. While a natural wine only allows 30 mg/l SO2 and no other input! We told you, it’s not the same product…!