Code Breaker

Or­ganic, bio­dy­namic, what does it all mean? Here’s Toni Pater­son’s guide to de­ci­pher­ing wine la­bels.

Australian House & Garden - - Contents -

The com­plex­i­ties of or­ganic and bio­dy­namic wines.

Are you a lit­tle puz­zled by the terms ‘or­ganic’ and ‘bio­dy­namic’ on a wine la­bel?

Or­ganic viti­cul­ture is es­sen­tially an en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious phi­los­o­phy that puts the health of the soil and the vines at the fore­front of all de­ci­sions.

For a win­ery to call its wines or­ganic, or bio­dy­namic, it must ad­here to the min­i­mum re­quire­ments out­lined in the 2015 Na­tional Stan­dard for Or­ganic and Bio-Dy­namic Pro­duce.

Ex­clud­ing syn­thetic pes­ti­cides, her­bi­cides, fungi­cides and ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers, as well as ban­ning the use of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied prod­ucts, is cen­tral to the or­ganic method. Sul­phur diox­ide is per­mis­si­ble at mod­er­ate lev­els to pre­vent grape juice, and wine, from spoil­ing.

Na­tive veg­e­ta­tion on the prop­erty is im­por­tant, as is bio­di­ver­sity. En­ergy, soil and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, and the use of re­new­able re­sources, is en­cour­aged.

Bio­dy­nam­ics is an or­ganic farm­ing method with ad­di­tional re­quire­ments, based on the teach­ings of Ru­dolf Steiner. He be­lieved that farms have the po­ten­tial to be self-sus­tain­ing on soil fer­til­ity and dis­ease man­age­ment and sug­gested the ap­pli­ca­tion of nat­u­ral ‘prepa­ra­tions’, such as ma­nure, herbs and min­er­als.

Ac­cred­i­ta­tion by a cer­ti­fy­ing body is based on the na­tional stan­dard and re­lates to the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of the prod­uct do­mes­ti­cally and abroad.

Cer­ti­fiers of wine in­clude Aus­tralian Cer­ti­fied Or­ganic (ACO), The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture Aus­tralia (NASAA) and the Bio-Dy­namic Re­search In­sti­tute (BDRI), which uses the Deme­ter trade­mark. The process takes a num­ber of years and, part­way through, pro­duc­ers are al­lowed to state that they are ‘in-con­ver­sion’. All or­ganic and bio­dy­namic wines must meet all the cri­te­ria in the ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dard. The pres­ence of the cer­ti­fier’s logo is a stamp of in­tegrity.

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