What Is Organic Wine?

On the Organic Wine Find website, we use a broad international definition of organic wine:  wine made from grapes grown organically i.e. without using any synthetic fertilizers, weed-killers or insecticides. The legal definition of organic wine, varies from region to region.

Definitions Of Organic Wine

Those producers that farm organically and chose to label their wines ‘organic’, follow local labeling requirements:

In the USA, to be labeled ‘organic wine’ it must not only be made from grapes farmed organically, but also be free from any added sulphur dioxide (used as a preservative). More often than not, organic wine makers will add sulfur dioxide to preserve the wine, and in this case the wine will be labeled “made from organically grown grapes”.

In Europe, wine cannot legally be labeled as ‘organic wine’.  It can only be labeled as “made from grapes farmed organically”. This is laid out in EU Directive 2092/91, which came into effect with the 1992 vintage. It recognizes agricultural crop products as organic only when they are in an unprocessed (raw) state, i.e. wine grapes, carrots, tomatoes and cabbages.

In Australia, wine can be labeled organic, even if it contains sulfur dioxide, although the maximum level of SO2 is considerably less that conventional wine.

Further Definitions of Organic Wine

As the largest percentage of organic wine is made with small quantities of sulphur dioxide, Organic Wine Find will use “wine made with organically grown grapes” as the essential definition. Then within this broad category there are further refinements – such as organic wine made without added sulfur, or organic wine farmed biodynamically.

Vineyard Certification

For a vineyard to be officially classed as organic the owner must be able to prove which vineyard the grapes came from, which officially recognized body certified the vineyard as organic, and from what date certified organic practices began. There are many organic producers that do not bother with official certification because they don’t label their wine organic. Nevertheless they are passionate organic producers, and in some cases even farm biodynamically. On the Organic Wine Find website we have chosen not to limit vineyards to only those certified. Rather we include those vineyards that are fully and seriously committed to organic practice and have been for many years.


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