What is natural wine? And what is organic or biodynamic winemaking | Aardig Wijntje

What is natural wine?

At your aunt's birthday is, or at the local regular pub; wherever you go these days, you increasingly get the question 'what exactly is that, natural wine?' 'And then what is the difference between natural wine, biodynamic wine and organic wine?' Just explain it. Or leave it to the guys at Aardig Wijntje, nice of them.

What is natural wine?

Natural wines are wines where as little as possible is intervened from the vineyard to the bottle, made the way wine was made for thousands of years before the industrial revolution. This means:

  • Healthy grapes, grown organically or biodynamically;
  • No chemical additives;
  • No or hardly any added sulfite;
  • Spontaneous fermentation;
  • No filtering after the fermentation process.

By the way, many winemakers are not very happy with the term natural wine because the word can be twisted in all sorts of directions. And yes, it's actually also a shame that the adjective "nature" has to be added to the word "wine," when the original definition of wine is pure, fermented grape juice. Regardless, it is the most commonly used name worldwide to describe healthily grown, nature-friendly wines with little intervention.

Biodynamic viticulture

Natural winemakers use a variety of farming methods that fit within the definition of "natural. One such method is biodynamic farming, a form of organic cultivation invented and developed in the 1920s by Austrian Rudolf Steiner. Polyculture, or growing multiple crop species in the same space, and animal husbandry are central to this.

Unlike organic farming, biodynamic farming focuses more on prevention rather than treatment. Self-sufficiency of the vineyard is paramount. Plant, mineral and animal substances are used to stimulate the life of microorganisms and thus make the soil healthier.

To avoid misunderstanding, natural wine can be made according to biodynamic principles as well as organic standards. However, biodynamic wine does not always have to be "natural wine. For example, you will find more sulfite in biodynamic wine, and egg albumin is allowed during the vinification process, unlike natural wine in which only sulfur dioxide is allowed during vinification.

What is viticulture according to organic principles?

Organic viticulture is an agricultural method that avoids the use of man-made synthetic chemicals. For example, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers are not allowed in this form of viticulture. Instead, vintners use plant and mineral substances to promote soil health and control pests and diseases.

Natural winemakers use organic and/or biodynamic viticulture methods to grow their grapes. However, organic wine is not necessarily natural wine. Many additives may be added during the vinification process in organic wines, something that does not happen in natural wines.

The differences between natural wine, biodynamic wine, organic wine and conventional wine





30mg/L Sulfite

60-90mg/L Sulfite

100-150mg/L Sulfite

150-200mg/L Sulfite

Synthetic chemicals not allowed in vineyard

Synthetic chemicals not allowed in vineyard

Synthetic chemicals not allowed in vineyard

Synthetic chemicals

allowed in vineyard

Only sulfur dioxide allowed during vinification

Egg albumin, sulfur dioxide allowed during vinification

Multiple additives allowed

Multiple additives allowed