Authentic, Natural, Organic and Biodynamic
All the wines we select are authentic. For us, this means that they are made locally, reflecting the specificities of the territory, with pride, care and love. They are artisanal, not industrial, and made on a small scale. Typically, our winemakers have an overall production of around 8000 bottles or less per year.
Authentic wines are made locally, from local grapes, and according to artisanal processes. Vinland checks this for you personally, by visiting the vineyards and cellars!
In conventional winemaking, many “additions”, which do not derive from the vine can be made, to “pimp” the flavour, bouquet and colour of wines, or simply to speed up the winemaking process by lending Mother Nature a helping hand. Using selected yeasts is a most common practice, and many argue that it does not have any side effects on consumer health, but allows for making better tasting wines. In simplistic terms, if you want a wine to taste more like red berries, some specific yeast can be added, which during fermentation brings out the desired aromas. Sugars can be added, to boost fermentation. Concentrated must can be added, to obtain more product, higher or lower alcohol content, not to mention correctors for acidity, etc., etc. All this is legally sound. The question is: if a consumer wants to buy wine, which is the reflection of a “terroir” – of soil, climate and tradition of a certain area – is it really what he gets? How much wine from a certain area is obtained only from grapes grown in that particular area? How much rectified must from other parts of the world does it contain? Is this still an “authentic” product?
According to EU Regulation 606/2009, the maximum amount of sulphites allowed in red and rosé wines is 150 mg per litre, for white wines 200 mg per litre, for sweet wines 200 mg/l and 250 mg/l respectively. Then there are exceptions, which can be made in difficult climatic circumstances, and by specific types of wine. Worldwide renowned Sauternes may contain up to 400 mg of sulphites per litre.
Some wines we propose are organic, made from certified organically grown grapes, without any addition of synthetic chemicals and genetically manipulated organisms. Organic winemaking allows for chemical intervention, but limits it clearly. EU Regulation 203/2012 allows for about 30 “ingredients” to be added to the pressed grapes to make wine. Certainly fewer than conventional agriculture, but still far from “natural”. However, we have looked at the processes, spoken to the winemakers, walked in the vineyard and tested the wines, and we are convinced that it is not only a “publicity stunt”. These vintners firmly believe that organic is important for future sustainability and that their wines are better then “conventional” wines. According to the above regulation, organic red and rosé wines can contain up 100 mg of sulphites per litre, and whites up to 150 mg/l.
Biodynamic agriculture is based on Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy, a vision according to which not only scientific, but also spiritual aspects are needed to understand the world and find “truth”. Biodynamic agriculture is based on the balance of elements to create harmony. In winemaking, it is much more restrictive than any other regulations and allows for three “chemicals” to be added during the winemaking process (SO2, bentonite and tartaric acid), as well as a very limited use of machinery. Winemaking is based on the quest for harmony, follows the natural phases of the moon, and the few allowed chemicals are obtained from biodynamically grown plants. Biodynamic agriculture is a free choice made by farmers, who voluntarily adhere to a code of conduct and allow the association Demeter International to verify compliance with this code. Only Demeter-certified wine can be considered biodynamic. Sulphites are allowed to a maximum of 70 mg per litre for red and rosé wines, and 90 mg per litre for whites.
There is no rule, no regulation and no standard practice to define “natural” winemaking. Natural wines are obtained by keeping the vineyards “as natural as possible” and ensuring that only the best bunches are kept on the vines for superior quality. In this context, “natural” stands for minimising human intervention to the strictly necessary. It is a free choice, but natural winemakers are normally quite happy to have their wines certified by the VinNatur Association, which will take samples and have them randomly analysed. If wines contain traces of “unnatural” ingredients, with the exception of sulphites (SO2) – the only ones permitted – or find an excess of SO2, VinNatur will not recognise these wines as “natural”. Normally there are no added sulphites, but a maximum of 30 mg per litre for reds and 50 mg per litre in whites is allowed.
In a broader sense, the concept of signature wines indicates the symbolic value of a very broad connection between wine and territory. When you hear “Riesling”, you probably associate it with the Rhine and Moselle rivers and vineyards in Germany. When you hear “Medoc”, you think of Bordeaux and so on. We learnt that there are expert winemakers, who have the skill to bring out the most remarkable character traits of the grapes os that they reflect the “territory” and what it stands for. They leave their “signature” on the wines. These master winemakers mostly work as consultants and help vinters bring out the best in their produce. They master winemaking techniques, have a strong scientific background, and must have great sensitivity to understand the land that they are called to capture in a few drops. Above all, they have a vision on what a wine should stand for, what it should express, what stories it shall tell and emotions it shall generate, like an artist composes his work. Some of these Masters believe in the use of science to reach their aim, others tend more to towards the “naturalist” interpretation of winemaking. In any case, their wines are wonderful pieces of craftsmanship which we believe you will want to know. So we will point them out to you!