In organic farming it is forbidden to use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or other artificial agents. Organic certification can be obtained after 3 years of transition away from chemical-intensive conventional agricultural practices. These basic rules are similar all around the world. But there are many different levels of certification in Europe and in the USA.
This is the term we use for winemakers who are in transition from traditional agriculture to organic agriculture. They cannot claim to be organic yet, but we respect their path toward being organic by all means possible.
In addition to following the organic-farming rules, biodynamic farming sees the farm as a holistic living system. In a biodynamic vineyard we may find different plants, legumes, flowers, and vegetables planted during different seasons. This fortifies the soil and the entire ecosystem. The major actions in a biodynamic vineyard are planned in accordance with the lunar calendar, respecting the moon’s influence on all living systems (ocean tides, but also human energy).
Natural wines are not legally defined; they are made using little human intervention in the vineyard and in the cellar. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and no additives. No fining or sterile filtration is done before bottling.
The result is that, with a few exceptions, natural wines often present residues and are not consistent from one bottle to the next. There is no category for natural wines in this website; I do offer a few of them, but I select them because they are organic and high-quality, not because they are natural per se.
During the making of a vegan wine, no product of animal origin is used at all. One might ask, are animal products used in normal winemaking? The answer is yes, even if it is a very limited practice: for example, a few milligrams of egg white sometimes goes into a large tank to clarify or stabilize the wine. The egg white coagulates with residues and also absorbs some bitter tannins, and then precipitates to the bottom, to be easily removed before bottling. I classify as vegan only the wines that are clearly defined as such by their winery—although many winemakers nowadays use enzymes not derived from animals to obtain the same results.