Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


The European Union has rejected a proposal to create an organic wine category, despite regulation being ‘urgently needed’.

‘Organic’ wine producers in Europe can only state their wine is made from organically-grown grapes and politicians have been debating the introduction of an organic wine category.

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The CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) have handed out awards to Benziger Family Winery for their closed loop water system and Fetzer Vineyards for their waste reduction.

CCOF certified Fetzer Vineyards has been recognized for the 13th year by the 2009 Waste Reduction Award Program (WRAP) of the California Integrated Waste Management Board for their outstanding achievements in reducing, reusing, and recycling. Fetzer reduced its landfill waste by 96 percent in 2008. Part of that success was achieved through Fetzer’s recycling initiative, which recycles more than 968 tons of glass, cardboard, paper, plastics, metal, pallets, barrels, and other items. In 2008, Fetzer underwent a major packaging change that converted its entire line of wines to light-weight bottles. The conversion reduced the per bottle weight by an average of 14 percent, resulting in a savings of 2,173 tons of glass per year.

Also in the wine industry, CCOF certified Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, California, recently gained attention for creating an almost completely closed loop water system for their winery. The closed loop system works by filtering water through three ponds, which begin with water containing grape sediment and other organic materials and ends with water nearly clean enough for human consumption. The ponds use natural resources such as organisms living on plant roots in the ponds to filter out impurities. In a normal year, Benziger Family Winery is able to completely irrigate their land without drawing any irrigation water from the ground, an impressive and innovative feat. Benziger has also been nominated for “Best Sonoma Winery” for the 2010 Best of the Bay List.

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When Organic Vintners announced they would stop online wine sales it was sad news for those who like to purchase their organic wines online. But now The Organic Wine Company has come to the rescue and will be offering many of Organic Vintners selections on their online store. Congratulations to Veronique Raskin and Paolo Benetti on working together for the benefit of organic wine drinkers everywhere.

Here is the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, DECEMBER 17, 2009: As of the end of this year (2009) Organic Vintners (OV) will no longer be selling organic wines to consumers direct online. In order to continue to provide these wines to their existing online customers, The Organic Wine Company (OWC) has agreed to enhance our existing partnership with OV by adding additional OV wines to our online store.

In an email announcement today, Paolo Benetti, (President of Organic Vintners, assured his customers that; “OWC has been as committed to certified organic wines as Organic Vintners and has been a pioneer dating back to pre-organic regulations. OWC has a wonderful on-line portfolio of certified organic wines which have included some of our brands in the past few years, and they have committed to taking on a few more wines in order to service your chemical-free wine needs.”

Founded in 1980 by Veronique Raskin in San Francisco, The Organic Wine Company imports, distributes, and retails online, a quality selection of organic wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile as well as specialty organic wines from California for over 30 years. Information about the company can be found at their web site at

Founded in 2001 in Boulder Colorado, Organic Vintners imports and distributes a quality selection of organic wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile as well as their own branded line of organic wines from California. Information about the company can be found at their web site at

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Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the largest organic winery in Canada, has been named Canadian Winery of the Year by the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, England.

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Looks like one less place to buy organic wine online. We got the following email announcement last week.

Organic Vintners has made the decision to stop servicing consumers direct. While this is a difficult decision, Organic Vintners is making progress in 28 states through wine distributors, retailers, restaurants, wine shops, and liquor stores.

Our focus for 2010 will be to grow our trade accounts with the goal that your favorite organic wines will be available in your town.

For the remainder of the year we will continue to bring you our certified organic selections while supplies last. Click here to browse our available organic wine selection.

I appreciate your continued business since 2002 and please do not hesitate to call me at 303-245-8773 x 17 to find out where our organic wines are locally available to you. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

We wish our friends at Organic Vintners continued good luck with bringing organic wines to the masses.

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Keith Wallace at the Daily Beast has an interesting article about how the top 30 wine brands in the United States aren’t from what we would traditionally consider a true “winery.” While the piece does not deal with the organic side of the issue, it does illuminate how successful the industry is at creating a romantic image of winemaking that doesn’t always exist.

Read the article here.

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Organic Wine Is Crisis Proof

Good news from our friends at BioFach 2010. Organic wine is still doing well internationally despite the economic downturns. Germany is predicting a 10% increase in organic wine sales and Austrian organic wines are riding an increased demand from markets overseas, including Japan. French organic wine is “booming,” according to Kai Schamar, partner of VivoLoVin. And in Spain, 90% of the organic wines are being exported.

Read the full report here.

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When when of our favorite wineries teams up with one of our favorite importers it can only mean good news for New York wine lovers. Coturri Winery is now going to be represented by Jenny & Francois Selections. Known for their collection of natural wines from France, this will be the first U.S. wine the importer will carry. The Organic Wine Journal spoke with Jenny Lefcourt about the news.

This is the first U.S. wine in your portfolio. Why Coturri?

It’s the only American wine I drink on a regular basis. It’s 100% the same philosophy of the wineries we work with in France. We’ve recently expanded to Italy and Spain as well, so we’re spreading our borders.

Tony has a loyal following. What will you do to increase interest in his wines?

In the past two years there’s been a tremendous interest in natural wines. It’s a perfect moment to remind people that Coturri has always been in the spirit of that.

How many labels will you carry?

Right now we have 8 labels in stock. We’ll test the waters with those and see what people’s interest are. One of my favorites is the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Will you be concentrating more on restaurants or wine stores?

Both. I believe in these wines. Everyone should have an opportunity to taste them. I don’t present any of my labels as a niche wine. There are so many palettes out there. These wines are well balanced and have the acidity that a lot of California wines lack. Coturris are perfect for Thanksgiving. Beautiful complexity.

How long have you been drinking Coturri wines?

At least 8 years, I’ve always been a big fan.

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