So we did a biodynamic episode once, but what about organic wine? Natural wine? Zero-zero wine? There are lots of terms out there (and levels of regulation), so grab a glass of something as the biddies dive into the organic, the natural and more – and whether any of it really matters when it comes to the fermented grape juice in your glass.


Kara: San Salvatore Vetere Rosato


<iframe title="Embed Player" src="" height="192" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" oallowfullscreen="true" msallowfullscreen="true" style="border: none;"></iframe>


Bon Appetit, What’s the Difference Between Natural, Vegan, Organic, Biodynamic and 00 Wine?

Bon Appetit, Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Sulfites in Wine

MYSA Natural Wine, What is Brutal Wine? An Experiment in Natural Winemaking

MYSA Natural Wine, 25 Natural Wine Terms You Should Know

Slate, Is Organic Wine Really Better for the Environment?

Real Simple, Why Natural Wine Isn’t Always the Healthiest Option

Study Notes for Biodynamic, Organic, Natural Wine:

*Please note some of these lines might be directly taken from sources noted above.

NATURAL (why does the article feel the need to call it “natty wine” at one part?!)

  • Can also be called “raw, real, lofi”
  • Also can be glou-glou (glug glug) or vin de soir (wine for someone who is thirsty)
  • No legal definition
    • Most commonly agreed upon definition is a wine that’s fermented spontaneously with native yeast and contains only trace amounts of added sulfites
    • SULFITES – commonly used for preservation
      • Added – obviously added; preserve freshness and protect wine from oxidation, unwanted bacteria and yeasts
      • Natural – all wines have these compounds that are produced during fermentation and there is no way to escape them
        • Literally impossible to have a truly sulfite free wine
      • FDA estimates that less than 1% of the US population has a sulfite allergy and most of those who do are most likely asthmatic
  • Broadly refers to wines made with little intervention by the winemaker
  • Things typically avoided: additives, filtering, cultured yeasts, limited or no sulfur
  • Typically not aged in new oak
  • May contain particulates or appear cloudy
  • Cameron Diaz apparently has a “natural” wine that is not natural
  • All truly natural wines are organic
  • Can be barnyard-y, funky, or like a jazzed up juice (think kombucha)
  • Also can be known to have “Volatile Acidity” which means notes of vinegar and nail polish remover but can be good for balance in wine


  • Not all organic wines are considered natural
    • Some organic wine cellar regulations permit the use of additives and fining agents that are against natural winemaking “practices”
  • According to the USDA, produce can be considered organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest
  • In The US – wineries must grow grapes without synthetic fertilizers, forgo added sulfites and ensure all ingredients going in (including yeast) are certified organic
    • In the EU the difference is about the amount of added sulfites permitted (can have 100 mg/L for red and 150 mg/l for whites and rose
    • USDA must skip added sulfites
  • If you see “made with organic grapes” it means just the grapes are organic but yeast might not be
  • A lot of wine is organic but not labelled as such
    • Traditional vineyards in places like Burgundy, Languedoc, Piedmont, Mosel and elsewhere often stay in the same family for generations. Many of these vintners have stuck to organic farming practices, but don’t bother with the expense and bureaucracy of certification.


  • BB Episode 72 talks about biodynamic wine
  • Rudolf Steiner – started this in the 1920s who believed in farming based around a specific astronomic calendar
  • Official definition: spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition 
  • Instructs followers to use certain fertilization practices – filling cow horns with compost
  • Not all biodynamic wines are organic and not all can be considered natural but organic and natural wines can also be biodynamic if practices are followed
  • Look for the Demeter logo on the bottle to ascertain if it’s biodynamic or not 
    • Demeter is a non profit organization dedicated to biodynamic practices and sets forth the standards


  • Common misconception is that all wine is vegan because its made from fruit
  • Traditional fining agents that help remove sediment that can’t be removed by filtration are typically what make wine unsuitable for vegans
    • These include gelatine (animal collagen), isinglass (fish bladder), egg whites, milk casein, chitosan (a carbohydrate found in crustacean shells)
    • How vegan can you go?
    • Some will not buy wine sealed with beeswax
    • Others don’t like agglomerated corks which can use milk-based glues
  • To fine Vegan wines, winemakers either leave the particles to sink to the bottom of the bottle or use non-animal fining products like limestone or pea protein
  • Regulations do not require wineries to list the fining agents used so you have to do your own research
  • Vegan wines are not always natural 
  • Bev Veg Database lists vegan wines


  • A subset of natural wines, zero-zero asserts that zero was added and zero was taken out of the wine
  • A more extreme version of natural wine which forbids any winemaker interventions
    • No added sulfites or additives, no fining or filtering
  • Rely on naturally occurring yeasts on the grapes 
  • Very fringe in the overall wine scene and controversial as well
  • 00 wine making raises the question of whether there is a point at which a winemaker should intervene before a wine gets too funky or even poses food-safety risks
  • Brutal!!! – is like a cult label used to signify a specific kind of wine a producer is making – must be 00 and also means that the wine is an experiment
    • Started as a conversation between three winemakers several years ago (Laureano Serras, Joan Ramon Escoda, Anthony Tortul) 
    • Kept calling this “good, experimental” wine Brutal which is slang in Catalan for sick, dope, dank
    • Anthony is French and though that meant the wine was really bad
    • Maybe around 50 producers making Brutal wines
      • Each winemaker is only allowed to have one Brutal!!! Wine a harvest

Is Natural Wine Healthier for You?

  • Some people do react to sulfites, but that’s about less than 1% of the US population
  • Chemicals called cogeners are often to blame for hangovers – but they occur with any alcohol, produced naturally or not
  • Glyphosate has been found in some conventional wines (carcinogen) – more important to look for organic rather than natural
  • Organic wine is potentially better for the environment due to the omission of chemicals
  • BUT organic wine production relies on manure for fertilizer. Manure = greenhouse gases