Eco-friendly wines, such as organic and bio-dynamically grown wines, have been gaining fans over the years--probably because they just taste better. The production of eco-friendly wines starts in the vineyard, by allowing the grapes to express itself fully without too much human interference. Then the grapes are processed into wine by allowing native yeasts to ferment the must, using neutral fermentation and aging vessels, and leaving wines unfiltered to allow most flavor components in the bottle.
The term "organic" may mean different things in different countries. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture definitions are:
- "Organic wine": No synthetic herbicides and pesticides in the vineyard AND no added sulfites in the wine-making process.
- "Made from organically grown grapes": Grapes come from certified organic vineyards but additional sulfites are allowed during the wine-making process. Sulfites stablize wines after being bottled.
- "Biodynamic": A stricter version of organic farming, which views a vineyard as part of an entire ecosystem by taking into account lunar and astrological calendars. The term only refers to the method of farming, and does not apply to the wine-making process.
-"Sustainability"- A range of vineyard and business practices that tries to impact positively on the ecology, economy and society as a whole. For example, a vineyard would try conserving water by collecting rain in barrels to irrigate the vineyard and give back to a non-profit organization to increase availability of safe drinkable water.