Wine and Technology

Guide: Biodynamic & Sustainable Wine

All around the wine world, people have become more conscious of eating organically, so it only makes sense that they would want to drink organically grown wine. Just as in the organic food movement, there are a variety of ways to classify how a wine has been grown and produced. The three most prevalent classifications are: 

ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC, SUSTAINABLE

All three practices involve different techniques and guidelines as well as certifications, which can all be a little confusing, so here is a simple explanation. 

Organic Wine

Wine that is made from grapes that were farmed organically.
These are grapes that were grown on an organic farm and they receive the same organic farming certification as an organic apple or pear farm. An organic wine is the only type of wine that can actually carry legal certification, so if a wine is organic it will carry the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic seal. The USDA approval signifies that the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and has been monitored throughout the entire production process. 

Biodynamic Wine

A biodynamic goes beyond organic practices to balance the entire vineyard with nature and the moon cycles.
It is based on the writings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner who believed that the vineyard is one ecosystem that only when in balance can grow the best fruit. Biodynamic farming practices are widely used around the world, but there is no formal certification for them, like there is for organic, so some winemakers choose to simply take the organic seal while others list that the wine was created biodynamically on the bottle. 

Sustainable Wine

Sustainable practices are based on farming that is not only good for the environment.
This means that a farmer may largely use organic practices, but if some of those practices don’t make economic sense (eg – they’re too expensive), the farmer might skip some of them. Just as with biodynamic wine, there is no formal certification for a wine to be sustainable, but there are several associations that winemakers can join to formally list themselves as a sustainable vineyard. 

 

Cork vs. Screw Caps


We All Need Closure.

 

A young couple walks into a wine shop to purchase a bottle of wine for dinner. Will the type of bottle closure affect their choice? Each and every winemaker, retailer and consumer all have different opinions on this topic.

 

Screw it…many individuals will not purchase a bottle of wine because it is sealed with a screw cap. People believe this is taking away from the romantic side of wine, making it look cheap and destroying the use of forests, which is the economic backbone of Portugal. However, the convenience of opening the bottles, the ability to store them in any position the affordability for wineries and the consistent seal definitely make it an option to be considered.

 

Cork off…natural cork has been used to close wine bottles for hundreds of years, but winemaker’s are beginning to realize that natural cork has its downfalls. For many years people have been opening up bottles that “corked” or tainted, wine that is ruined specifically by the cork. Winemakers are losing money, retailers are frustrated and consumers are sick of purchasing bad wine. Yes, some people believe natural cork is a better choice because you are using a renewable, recyclable material; protecting animal’s homes in the cork forests, and cork is a better material for aging wine.

 

Environmentalists can sit and tell the world that this method or that method is better, but both options have their pros and cons. Either way, it comes down to the winemaker and how they can make a profit. The consumers can base their purchase on the type of closure or the quality of the wine.

 

 

Cork vs. Screw Caps

 

Wine bottles can be closed with natural cork, synthetic corks or screw caps. Winemaker’s retailers and consumers all have their own opinions on closure.

 

One huge influence on preference is wine can become “corked” or tainted because of natural cork. Wineries do not want to take a chance of this happening because customers will not return, with the belief that the winery produces bad wine. Yet, the wine world has not found out how wine will age while closed with a screw cap. Screw caps have been around for many decades, but their use has always been associated with “cheap” or less expensive beverages. Winemakers are now choosing to use them on their wines, but not enough time has elapsed to know what the effects are on the wine.

 

Many ideas influence a winemaker’s choice of closure. More ideas include environmental factors, ceremony of opening wine, storage and even convenience. The result of wine closure is completely in the winemakers hands.

 

In our opinion, the biggest influence is whether or not a person plans to age the wine. With the research that has been done, if you plan to drink your wine within the next 5 to 10 years a screw cap will be perfect for sealing your wine. However, we would stick with natural cork for wine that you want to store for more than 10 years. When more research has been completed, we might find that we prefer all screw caps, but we will have to wait and see.

Canned Wine, Really?

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Drinking wine out of a can, are you serious...

 

What if you could simply open an individual can of wine just like opening your favorite can of soda or beer? Can Wine has arrived and it is becoming more popular each day.

 

According to Nielsen Canned wine sales have grown in recent years, with sales up 75 percent in 2015. While it's still a tiny fraction of the $15 billion U.S. wine market, canned wines are on the definitely on the upswing.

 

While it doesn't necessarily sound as glamorous as bottled wine, canned wine has several advantages, aluminum is a more sustainable and recyclable form of packaging than glass bottles and also a very cost-effective method of packaging wine.
Source: Can Science News

 
About a third of wine drinking millennials expect "quality" from wine in a can.
Millennials are changing the wine industry, they don't conform to the established rules. They warmed to wine in boxes, in kegs and now even wine oenophiles are coming over to this new phenomenon, "Wines in a Can".

 
Coppola Winery in Napa Valley was one of the first to try canned-wine with its 2004 release of Sofia, a sparkling blanc de blancs in a rose-colored can. They realized they could make a aluminum package very cool and extremely elegant. Canned wines are among several new, often eco-friendly packaging options that winemakers have been experimenting with since 2004. Gallup polling shows there’s been a generational shift away from beer in favor of wine. Part of this, is that Americans today are more health conscious.
During the 2014 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition 17 medals were awarded to wines packaged in new slim cans.

 
Read more about canned wines.....

Growing Vines

Ideal Conditions for growing vines...

 
Grapevines do not require rich, fertile soil to thrive. Soils which are too rich, too full of nitrogen and nutrients, might produce grapes that are suitable for eating, not for making wine. The fruit will be too simple and sweet and lacking in complex minerals, sugars, acids and flavours. The world’s finest wines are invariably produced from poor quality soils where few other crops would be worth planting.
 
 
The great wines of Bordeaux are produced from soil composed largely of gravel and pebbles, on a base of clay or chalk. The great Burgundies come from acidic, granite soil on a base of limestone.
 
 
The reason for this anomaly - poor land producing great wines - is that the thinness of the soil naturally restricts the quantity of the crop, so that fewer grapes are produced, but of higher quality. This is the same principle that a prize rose grower might adopt: thinning the bush to encourage the blooms that remain to reach a higher quality. Also, poor, free draining topsoil encourages the vine to send its roots deeper in search of water and nutrients. As the roots reach further down, complex minerals will be absorbed that will add complexity to the grape and, eventually, to the wine. Vineyards tend to be situated along river valleys, on gentle slopes where they have maximum exposure to the sun, where the soil is free draining, and where, historically, the rivers could be used for transport.
 
 
Source: wine-pages.com

Wine Decanters


The Buzz on Wine Decanters

 
Throughout history, decanters have played a significant role in the serving of wine. A decanter is a vessel that is used to hold the decanted liquid, such as wine.

 

 10 o'clock Wine, Chinese Wine Tutorial

 

 Riedel Factory Glass Production

 

Save the Planet


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What does it mean to grow grapes naturally?

 

What Is Sustainable Wine Growing?

 

Sustainable winegrowing is a way of farming that is environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable. Sustainable practices saves water and energy, maintains the health of the soil, protects our air and water quality, preserve ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
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Sustainable vs. Organic

 
The U.S. government regulates use of the term “organic,” but “sustainable” and “biodynamic” have no legal definitions.
 
One of the main reasons to be ‘sustainable’ as opposed to ‘organic’ involves government certification. Wineries simple do not choose to have the intervention of the government, the massive paperwork, and the added costs involved with becoming certified as a "Sustainable Winery". They simply choose to do the right thing, farm naturally and reasonably.

 

Potential Benefits of Sustainable Winegrowing

Economic Benefits

 

  • Long-term viability of land and business

  • Long-term cost savings

  • Produce better wines

  • Improve the value of the real estate

  • Maintain and improve market value of wine produced

  • Enhance relations with specific demographics Green consumers

Environmental Benefits

 

  • Long-term sustainability of land

  • Stewardship of the land

  • Conserve natural resources

Social Equity Benefits

 

  • Health and well-being of farm employees and neighbors

  • Enhance relations with neighboring communities

  • Enhance relations with consumers

  • Enhance relations with regulators (Government, Media and Educators)

Wine leather

Think luxury goods. Think leather. Think wine.

Think wine leather – a simulated leather made from grape skin and grape seeds.

Combining two great Italian excellences: Fashion and Wine. It is the new way to be fashionable and eco-friendly at the same time.

This new material, in the form of garments, bags and fashion accessories, will launch this October in Milan Italy.
VEGEA is a bio-material obtained from the processing of the fibers and vegetal oils contained in grape marc: a totally natural raw material consisting of the grape skins, stalks and seeds derived from the wine production.

The research is focused on the development of innovative bio-materials, to be used in fashion & design Industries in order face the growing demand for green and animal free products.

Made in Italy combining two great Italian specialties: Fashion and Wine.

Work on the wine leather project began in 2014, in cooperation with several Italian research centers and the University of Florence.

 

Simple Wine Math.

From 26 billion Liters of wine per year produced worldwide, resulting in 7 billion Kilograms of grape marc that can potentially produce 2.6 billion square meters of Vegea, every year.

Businesses outside the wine and fashion industry may also be interested. BMW already produces a car with vegan interiors, as does Buick, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen and others.

Currently, Italy is the largest wine producer since about the 18% of the global wine production is made in Italy. This makes our Country the ideal one for Wineleather’s manufacturing.

VEGEA Company was started in January 2016, based on ethical principles such as sustainability, health protection of workers and consumers, social responsibility and total respect for the environment.

Its founder is Gianpiero Tessitore, architect based in Milan, who, in 2014, started a thorough study in cooperation with various specialized Research Centers. To analyze physical and mechanical properties of several vegetable fibers and their suitability for being processed into eco-friendly materials.

This study led to identify the fibers contained in grape skins and seeds as the ideal ones to generate an ecologic leather-like material: Wineleather.

In June 2016 the patent concerning the whole production process was filed.

 

Note: You can find Wineleather products on Amazon, Target and ebay.

 

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