Have you ever wondered why some tags on our shelves have little green leaves or tiny red ladybugs on them? No Becky and Lee didn’t just go crazy with the stamp machine to give some color to the shelves. The stamps have an important meaning. With the New Year upon us, many of you made resolutions to make your life better, shrink your waistline, be healthier and live more intentionally. Here at Grapes & Grains, we are here to support you in that endeavor. We highlight our partner wineries, distillers, and producers who go the extra mile–those who make the extra effort to offer organic and biodynamic products. The green leaf and lady bug stamps are placed to make these products easy to find as you peruse our aisles.
Sometimes the processes between the two overlap. At times certified organic methods vary from country to country. Below is a synopsis of the differences between Organic and Biodynamic products and how we identify them in our store.
Organic – Green Leaf
Organic wines and spirits have fruit and grains grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. All ingredients going into the wines and spirits must be organic. Wines that are US Certified Organic also do not have added sulfites–only ones which occur naturally. The US Certified Organic Wines have a seal stating they are certified organic. Many other countries do not have a special seal, or the seal is not put on the label for aesthetic reasons. Organic Wines in the EU may have added sulfites in the wine.
You may also see a designation of “made with organically grown grapes,” which means the grapes are organic, but the additional ingredients used in the fermenting and wine making process do not need to be organic.
Many old world wines have been farmed organically for generations. Some old-school winemakers do not believe in promoting the fact their wines are organic because it’s just the way they’ve always made wine–from their grandfather and their grandfather’s grandfather. It’s normal and natural to them to farm the land with care and some producers feel they are selling their wine and not their farming practice.
Here at G&G, we want to make well-made wine, spirits, and beverages crafted with no pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers, and no added non-organic ingredients easier for you to locate. It’s not a perfect system as there are many producers out there whose long-standing, traditional organic practices are still unknown. As we continue to discover winemakers, distillers, and brewers who use true organic practices in the creation of their products, we will add them to our list and mark them with our green leaf.
Since the processes may differ slightly from country to country and there are several designations: certified, natural, made with organic grapes, etc., we had to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Our green leaf designation is for those products which have been grown with no synthetic herbicides, no pesticides, and with no added non-organic chemicals or products in the wine making, brewing, or distilling process.
Biodynamic – Red Ladybug
Biodynamic does not vary from country to country. It is the strictest natural process for growing and creating beverage products. This method utilizes organic growing principles, but also adds processes based around a specific astronomic calendar. Each day coincides with one of the elements: earth, fire, air, and water. Biodynamic farming also depend on compost rather than chemical fertilizers and utilize strict ground preparation principles. In the US and Canada, certified Biodynamic wines are allowed to have added sulfites.
Where do we draw the line at G&G in determining who gets the cute little lady bug? We designate those producers who operate strictly to the biodynamic principles for their wines. Many producers use some of the principles here and there and hope to use more and more, but only the products we’ve learned are fully all-in with their biodynamic model make our list of producers.
At Grapes & Grains, we want to be your resource for all your wine needs. We spend time educating ourselves by learning from our distributor, supplier, and wine maker/distiller/brewer partners. We want you to know whose products you are drinking so you can look them up on the internet, learn their processes for yourselves, and even visit their facilities when you are in the area.
Feel free to stop in, have a chat with us about your favorite items, and find some new favorites. Next time you walk the aisles, take notice of the little leaves and ladybugs scattered throughout the store.