Wines in this group were made from grapes grown in vineyards that are either certified organic, biodynamic, or 'practicing organic'. This last category includes a large number of viticulturists that use all of the practices of 'certified organic' vineyards, but have resisted certification for cost or philosophical reasons*. Many of the early problems of organic viticulture have been overcome, particularly in arid climate regions; the prevalence of fungi and other unfriendly micro-organisms are generally less for dry environments than for humid ones. Station Plaza Wines stocks many of the ubiquitous organically-produced wines from California, but for reasons of cost and style diversity, we have been finding ourselves in a pattern of frequently recommending imported "organic" wines, some from well-known regions or varietals (Chianti, Pinot Grigio, etc), but others from unfamiliar regions or grapes that are consequently less expensive.
Sustainable farming This is broadly defined, but includes the following vineyard practices: compost and natural soil amendments; organic or naturally derived pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; hand pulling of leaves; integrated pest management and the use of beneficial insects and cover crops. Wine labels frequently state: Organically grown grapes.
Organic Vineyards rely on the conservation of soil and water; No synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are involved in the farming. Only natural applications are used for composting and fertilizing. In the winemaking, no sulfur dioxide is added. Other techniques are optional, but generally utilize elements such as gravity flow systems and no filtering or fining of the wine.
Biodynamic Includes the above sustainable and organic practices, but uses a holistic approach. The guiding principles are: respecting the rhythm and balance of nature and the farm according to a biodynamic calendar; soil health is encouraged with the use of naturally and even vineyard property sourced fertilizer treatment; a diverse population of habitats is encouraged and all organic waste is reintroduced into the vineyard.
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