The ‘natural wine’ claim on some wine labels can be misleading. One big issue with it is that there’s no real definition of what a natural wine really means, versus organic or biodynamic, for instance.
Here’s more information about where this claim comes from and what it could mean.
What is natural wine?
As mentioned, there is no one definition of what a natural wine really is. However, the industry has developed certain practices that aim to produce a truly natural product.
According to Wine Enthusiast, natural winemaking can entail biodynamic, organic or sustainable farming practices in the vineyards, while no chemical or technological manipulation of the product has taken place in the wine cellar.
Winemakers are legally allowed to use certain additives in the U.S., but natural wines intend to use zero additives. Natural wines may, however, use a small amount of sulfur to help stabilize the wine before it’s put into bottles.
The idea is to not use any practice or substance that alters the makeup of the wine. Some natural wines are unfiltered. But natural winemaking can be different than organic or biodynamic claims you may see on other labels.
What are biodynamic and organic wines?
Organic claims are regulated by the U.S. government, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that these wines must be made from organically grown grapes, avoiding pesticides, additives, or genetic engineering. The grapes must be ‘grown without synthetic fertilizers and in a manner that protects the environment and preserves the soil.’
All other ingredients in the wine have to be certified organic as well, including yeast. Sulfites cannot be added to organic wine, though there are some naturally occurring sulfites that will be present.
Biodynamic wines are a bit different. This type of winemaking takes into account the entire ecosystem of a vineyard, including astrological or lunar cycles, while incorporating organic farming, the Food Network says. These farms are approved by the USDA as certified organic. No chemicals, yeast or sulfites are used in these wines.
Food and wine labels can make claims that are misleading, and it’s important to know what relevant terms mean to keep your brand’s packaging truthful and compliant.
Make sure you’re staying up-to-date with changing regulations with your food and beverage labels. Start by viewing our selection of label printers at Optimedia Labs’ U.S. page or visit our Canadian site.