Biodynamic, Organic & LIVE Certified Wines

April 2015

This month, in celebration of Earth Day, we’re bringing you earth-friendly wines – biodynamic, organic, salmon safe, etc.

Of course, there are skeptics. Biodynamics is mystical crap created by marketing gurus. Aren’t all wines organic? And what does salmon-safe mean anyway?

Much has been said about the mystical ‘woo woo’ practices behind biodynamics. And it can be a little out there –burying cow horns, a fixation on manure, picking grapes naked under a full moon – it all sounds pretty crazy. But when you set aside the silly stuff, biodynamics is really a holistic approach to farming that goes beyond the organic values of eliminating chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. It’s about considering the entire vineyard ecosystem, the impact of the weather and time of the year, and the influence of humans on the land as a whole.

Other wineries follow more typical organic methods aiming to reduce or eliminate all synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Their focus is protecting both the people working the land as well as the environment around them while still encouraging healthy vineyard growth. One challenge to producing organic wine is preserving the wine without added sulfites which can greatly reduce a wine’s shelf life. (So drink it now!)

In Oregon, you’ll also often see the LIVE certification – Low Input Viticulture and Enology. LIVE-certified winemakers reduce the overall amount of raw materials used in production – water, fuel, fertilizer, and chemicals. LIVE, only one of two sustainable certification agencies in the United States, has also partnered with Salmon Safe to address issues of watershed health. (After all, wineries care an awful lot about protecting watersheds.)

So, what does this mean for you? Wineries with any of these certifications maintain strict sustainability practices both in the growing of their grapes as well as the production of their wines. These winemakers and grape growers are taking extra care to reduce their impact on the land and maintain ecosystem health.

As for what’s in the bottle, what you’ll find is that these wines often express a much stronger sense of the land that they come from – theterroir – with an undiluted, especially cared-for quality that deepens the wine’s connection with the ground it came from.

I hope that you’ll take this chance to celebrate Oregon’s unique commitment to sustainability and enjoy these wines that have a special sense of the land they come from.

Cheers — and happy Earth Day!