Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine

Press release from the European Union:

New EU rules for “organic wine” have been agreed in the Standing Committee on Organic Farming (SCOF), and will be published in the Official Journal in the coming weeks. With the new regulation, which will apply from the 2012 harvest, organic wine growers will be allowed to use the term “organic wine” on their labels. The labels must also show the EU-organic-logo and the code number of their certifier, and must respect other wine labelling rules. Although there are already rules for “wine made from organic grapes”, these do not cover wine-making practices, i.e. the whole process from grape to wine. Wine is the one remaining sector not fully covered by the EU rules on organic farming standards under Regulation 834/2007.

After the vote in the SCOF, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural development Dacian Ciolos stated: “I am delighted that we have finally reached agreement on this dossier, as it was important to establish harmonized rules guaranteeing a clear offer to consumers who are more and more interested in organic products. I am pleased that we emerge with rules which make a clear difference between conventional and organic wine – as is the case with other organic products. As a result, consumers can be sure that any “organic wine” will have been produced using stricter production rules.”

The new rules have the advantage of improved transparency and better consumer recognition. They will not only help to facilitate the internal market, but also to strengthen the position of EU organic wines at international level, since many other wine producing countries (USA, Chile, Australia, South Africa) have already established standards for organic wines. With this piece of legislation, the EU organic farming is now complete and covers all agricultural products.

The new regulation establishes a subset of oenological (wine-making) practices and substances for organic wines defined in the Wine Common Market Organisation (CMO) regulation 606/2009. For example, sorbic acid and desulfurication will not be allowed and the level of sulphites in organic wine must be at least 30-50 mg per litre lower than their conventional equivalent (depending on the residual sugar content). Other than this subset of specifications, the general wine-making rules defined in the Wine CMO regulation will also apply. As well as these wine-making practices, “organic wine” must of course also be produced using organic grapes – as defined under Regulation 834/2007.


There are no EU rules or definition of “Organic wine”. Only grapes can be certified organic and only the mention “wine made from organic grapes” is currently allowed.

In the 2004 Organic Action Plan, the Commission pledged to establish specific organic rules for all agricultural production, including wine-making. In this context, the “OrWine” research project was financed under the 6th Framework Programme. Based on its findings, legal proposals for defining organic wine were first tabled in Standing Committee for Organic Farming (SCOF) in June 2009, but remained deadlocked and were withdrawn in June 2010. Work resumed in 2011 and the draft received a favourable opinion from the SCOF on 8 February 2012.

Key parts of the proposals

The new rules on organic wine-making rules introduces a technical definition of organic wine which is consistent with the organic objective and principles as laid down in Council Regulation (EC 834/2007) Organic production. The regulation identifies oenological techniques and substances to be authorized for organic wine.

These include: maximum sulphite content set at 100 mg per litre for red wine (150 mg/l for conventional) and 150mg/l for white/rosé (200 mg/l for conventional), with a 30mg/l differential where the residual sugar content is more than 2g per litre.

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New Expo West 2012 Beer, Wine & Spirits Marketplace

Date: Friday & Saturday, March 9-10, 2012
Time: 1:00–7:00 pm
Place: Marriott Grand Ballroom – Convention Way – Anaheim, CA

Mountain Peoples Wine & Beer Distribution is one of the leading organic wine and beer distributors in the industry. Our goal is to provide our clients with the highest quality and largest selection of organic wines and beers available. Our mission is to promote and champion a more sustainable wine and beer industry through organically produced wines and beers. We carry USDA Organic Wines and Beers, Wines Made with Organically Grown Grapes and Demeter Certified Biodynamic Wines. Our products are distributed and available to a wide variety of consumers via supermarket chains, natural food stores, cooperatives, specialty wine shops and on-premise locations, and we are continually striving to broaden our reach. We currently distribute in California and Oregon.

We are pleased to announce that we will be partnering with New Hope 360 and Natural Products Expo West to bring you the 2012 Beer, Wine & Spirits Marketplace in Anaheim, CA in March. This year’s new format is a two-day event that allows ample time for quality tasting and education. This is a wonderful opportunity for all Retail Buyers, Wholesalers and Distributors to come together to meet the brewmasters and the winemakers, discover new products and place orders on site. Most importantly, there will be show specials and promotional offers available throughout the event.

Several of our wine and beer vendors will be there to speak to the benefits of organic wine and beer as well as pour samples of their products.

• South American Wine Importers
• CalNaturale
• Casa Barranca Winery
• Frey Winery
• Honeyrun Winery
• LaRocca Vineyards
• Natural Merchants
• New Planet Beer
• Chacewater
• Lammsbräu
• Girasole Vineyards

The best part is that admission is free for all retailers with registration completed on or before February 3rd online at:

Please call the Mountain Peoples Wine Dist. office for assistance with registration, if necessary. We can be reached at (530) 265-0300.

More Information about the expo can be found online at:

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Whole Foods is adding to their selections of Organic Wines. From the press release:

This year, America sipped past France to become the largest wine-consuming nation, as wine enthusiasts are increasingly embracing a lifestyle with wine and food. At Whole Foods Market, shoppers are not only trying new varieties, but they are also increasingly turning to organic wines with no sulfites added (NSA). To meet this demand, the company is expanding its offerings and is now the only national retailer to carry the first USDA Certified Organic NSA wines from Italy and Spain.

Whole Foods Market now carries wines from Bodegas Iranzo, Spain’s oldest estate-bottled winery, and La Cantina Pizzolato, Italy’s top-selling organic winery. Specifically, Whole Foods Market stocks Spartico Organic Tempranillo from Bodegas Iranzo, and La Cantina Pizzolato Organic Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosso Convento, all priced under $13.

“We are thrilled to add these quality Italian and Spanish wines to our line-up of domestic organic wines, providing shoppers with the best selection of organic NSA wines available at a retail supermarket,” said Geof Ryan, national wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. “We see more and more interest in these wines from wine enthusiasts who believe NSA wines provide the most pure expression of the grape and from those who have sulfite sensitivities or allergies.”

Depending on the store, approximately 10 to 20 wines of the wines on Whole Foods Market shelves are organic NSA wines. Domestic producers offering these wines at Whole Foods Market include Roulé Rouge from northern California, which makes a red table wine, and Frey Vineyards from Mendocino County, which produces such wines as an Organic Red, White and Rosé as well as true varietals like Organic Chardonnay and Petite Syrah.

“The quality of organic wines improves every year, and these wines from Italy and Spain are a testament to the traditional artisan winemaking craft passed on for generations,” said Ryan. Since 1994, Bodegas Iranzo has exclusively produced wine from organically grown grapes and was one of the first wine producers in Spain to be USDA National Organic Program-certified organic.

Tasting notes for the imported NSA wines include:

Spartico Organic Tempranillo – this fruity, medium-bodied violet black wine has smoky, salty nut aromas with sugared berry sweetness and tartness with a firm powdery tannin finish.

La Cantina Pizzolato Organic Merlot – with aromas of smoked nuts and spicy raspberries, this deep ruby red is a dry, yet fruity medium bodied wine with good balance.

La Cantina Pizzolato Organic Cabernet Sauvignon – this dry, medium-to-full bodied wine has aromas of honey-roasted pineapple and roasted green pepper, with hints of tangy cranberry notes.

La Cantina Organic Rosso Convento – a medium-bodied blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Convento has pleasant aromas of black raspberry and plums, with baked apple and spice notes, with a toasty cedar finish.

Wine labeled as “organic wine” must be made from organically grown grapes and cannot have any added sulfites. The wine may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 10 parts per million. Wines with added sulfites that total more than 10 parts per million must include the statement “contains sulfites.” Wines labeled as “made from organically grown grapes” may have added sulfites.

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On Saturday, Oct. 8, three hundred members and guests at BRIT’s annual fundraiser, Fête du Vin Wine Dinner and Auction toasted Parducci Wine Cellars, the winner of the 2011 International Award of Excellence for Sustainable Winegrowing, in fitting fashion, raising glasses of the winemaker’s sustainably grown Petite Sirah, True Grit, in a special salute.

Accepting the annual award on Parducci’s behalf was Texas-native and Managing Partner Tim Thornhill, a nationally recognized arborist, horticulturist, environmentalist and leader in the sustainable wine-growing movement.

“Tim Thornhill and Parducci Wine Cellars are prestigious ambassadors for the sustainability movement,” said Dwight H. Cumming, President, The Cumming Company, Inc. and Chairman of BRIT’s Fête du Vin Wine Dinner and Auction, who presented the award to Thornhill. “Parducci’s focus on nurturing local, environmentally friendly operations and developing new, greener winemaking methods is an example for the industry.”

Under Thornhill’s direction, Parducci Wine Cellars became the first vineyard in the United States to be certified carbon neutral. Parducci follows a strict sustainability standard of certified winegrowing practices including using 100 percent green power and recycling 100 percent of its waste water. BRIT judged Parducci and other award applicants on 18 separate sustainability measures. Parducci’s True Grit petite sirah is one of several organic and sustainable wines produced by the vineyard.

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An organic and biodynamic approach to winemaking has paid off again for Tawse Winery of Vineland, Ontario, named Canada’s 2011 Winery of the Year for the second year in a row at the prestigious Canadian Wine Awards.

Tawse wines were awarded a total of 24 medals in the competition, including a record-setting six gold medals. The winery was also awarded seven silver and 11 bronze medals.

The Canadian Wine Awards have been held annually since 2000 by Wine Access Magazine, and involve stringent, international-calibre competition with blind tasting by wine experts.

Tawse Winery is located on the bench of the Niagara Escarpment along Ontario’s popular Wine Route. A certified organic and biodynamic wine producer, Tawse uses no pesticides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers. Horse-drawn equipment is used and farm animals roam the Tawse vineyards, eating weeds and excess vine foliage as well as providing natural fertilizer.

“We’re very excited to be named Canada’s Winery of the Year again in 2011 – for us it’s like winning the ‘best picture’ Oscar two years in a row,” says Moray Tawse, Toronto financier and winery owner. “Our philosophy is that great wine begins in the vineyard and I’m indebted to our winemaker Paul Pender, and his team, who are as involved in viticulture as they are in making wine.”

Mr. Tawse says the unique clay, limestone and shale soil of the escarpment bench also has a starring role in this win. “The soil here is complex and varies from vineyard to vineyard. It allows for wines of great depth, richness and character.”

The six gold medals won by Tawse were for the 2009 Estate Chardonnay, 2009 Sketches of Niagara Riesling, 2010 Riesling, 2009 Robyn’s Block Chardonnay, 2009 Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay and 2009 Members Select Chardonnay. For a full list of medal winners and other background information, go to and click on Winery of the Year.

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ECOVIN, the German federal association of organic wine producers, will be starting its new series of events titled “Organic Wine Culture” on Thursday 26 May. The three-year project, which involves the entire association and others, is being supported by the federal ministry of agriculture, and consists of three major events to be held in the spring of the years 2011 to 2013, as well as one-day events on the estates of members, to be held each year in autumn. The objective is to present organic wine culture with its regional and winery specific facettes and special conditions in the vineyard and cellar.

The official opening event takes place from 16h00 to 20h00 in the St. Elizabeth church in Berlin-Mitte (Invalidenstraße 3). Following a theatrical interlude, winemaker Christine Bernhard (awarded the prize for organic acriculture in 2011, Janson-Bernhard estate), organic farm manager Sonja Moor (Model village Hirschfelde), journalist Ursula Heinzelmann and the chairlady of the Green party, Claudia Roth (MdB)will discuss individual points of view related to organic wine culture. After that, some 25 organic producers will be presenting around 100 organically produced wines.

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The second annual FIVE trade fair is due to take place on 12 and 13 April, 2011.

After our successful first experience, with the participation of 53 wineries and importers from 16 different countries, we accept the challenge of doubling our efforts to make this second meeting better and with more participants than the first one. We hope the improvements are noticeable in all aspects of FIVE, both organizationally and in business opportunities. We also aim to increase the number of exhibiting wineries along with the corresponding presence of international buyers.

For more info:

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Clarifying the Confusion Behind Organic Wine Labels Is Focus of Press Conference and Seminar at Expo West

Media and organic industry representatives attending Natural Products Expo West are invited to attend a key press conference and seminar focusing on clarifying consumer and trade confusion over organic wine labeling regulations, on Saturday, March 12, 4:00 – 5:00 pm in Room 205A, Anaheim Convention Center.

Media members and organic industry members attending this year’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, are invited to attend an important press conference and seminar focusing on clarifying the confusion behind organic wine labeling regulations.

The press conference and seminar on organic wine labeling will take place on Saturday, March 12, 4:00 – 5:00 pm in Room 205A at the Anaheim Convention Center. Natural Products Expo West, held March 10-13, is the world’s largest natural and organic products trade show, attracting more than 60,000 trade visitors annually.

The press conference and panel is being hosted by a group of artisan organic wine producers, including Paul Dolan Vineyards, Barra of Mendocino, Redwood Valley Cellars and Organic Vintners, and will feature wine columnist W. Blake Gray, publisher of The Gray Market Report.

Gray is a noted authority on organic wine labeling and the organic wine market. His article recently published in the Los Angeles Times brings a clear synthesis of the organic wine labeling issue to national attention. Chef Akasha Richmond, founder of Los Angeles’ renowned Restaurant Akasha, will also speak at the press conference and panel discussion, along with pioneer organic wine trader Paul Chartrand of Chartrand Imports; Barney Feinblum, Co-founder and Director of Alfalfa’s Market; and veteran organic legal expert Richard Siegel.

The event is open to all media members and organic trade members attending Natural Products Expo West.

Press Conference and Seminar Title:

Why Isn’t More Wine Organic? Clarifying Organic Wine Labels.

When and Where:

Saturday, March 12, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Room 205A, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA.


Why has growth in organic wine lagged significantly behind the overall organic market? How can we promote more organic vineyard acreage, when wine producers are not rewarded for their commitment to organic? This panel of experts will discuss the confusion around the labeling of organic wines, including no sulfite added NSA wines, as well as wines made from 100% certified organically grown grapes. The panel will discuss how a petition under review by the National Organic Standards Board can clear up consumer confusion around organic wine labels, reduce “greenwashing,” and help propel the growth of the market, while maintaining strict organic standards.


  • W. Blake Gray, Wine Journalist and Publisher, The Gray Market Report, San Francisco, CA

  • Akasha Richmond, Founder, Restaurant Akasha, Los Angeles, CA

  • Barney Feinblum, Co-founder and Director, Alfalfa’s Market, Boulder, CO

  • Richard Siegel, Director, Richard D. Siegel Law Offices, Washington, DC

  • Paul Chartrand, Founder and CEO, Chartrand Imports, Rockland, ME

  • Moderator: Steven Hoffman, President, Compass Natural, Boulder, CO

Paul Dolan Vineyards, Barra of Mendocino, Redwood Valley Cellars and Organic Vintners are producers and sellers of wines made from 100% certified organically grown grapes. As co-petitioners to amend organic wine labeling via a petition that has been approved for review by the National Organic Standards Board at its upcoming national meetings, the group of artisan organic wine producers hopes to clarify labeling confusion, maintain current strict organic standards, and help spur the growth of organic winegrape growing acreage. According to industry estimates, the organic wine market has lagged more than 10-fold behind growth of the overall organic market, and many believe it is due to complex and often confusing organic wine labeling regulations.

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