It goes without saying that at l’Art du Vin we are extremely passionate about all things wine. However, one of the favourite elements of our job is having the opportunity to introduce people to wines produced using lesser-known grape varieties or from less fashionable regions.
We are therefore delighted by the fact that so many of you have embraced our new “Case by Case” concept and, in doing so, have been exposed to many wines that you would not have selected yourself.
One of the key things we look for when finding new producers to work with is their sustainability. From the vineyard to the final bottle, we encourage all our partners to be as eco-friendly as possible. With that in mind, we thought we should take this opportunity to shed a little light on some of the terminologies we use in the description of wine.
We hope that this helps you to further understand what we do, our range and, most importantly, the wines brought to us by our artisan producers around the globe.
There is a bit of confusion regarding sulphites in wines. Sulphites are powerful antioxidants that are used a lot in grape growing and wine making. However, sulphites are also a by-product of the alcoholic fermention, therefore all wines will contain some sort of sulphites. As a result, there is no such thing a sulphite-free wine. In the case of organic and biodynamic wines, their use will be limited. In the case of natural wines, no sulphites will be added (however those naturally occurring will remain present).
Organic wines are made with grapes that have received no synthetic chemicals such as fungicide, herbicides and pesticides treatments. Any form of treatment or fertilising will be done by using natural, organic and plant remedies. In the winery, the use of sulphites will be allowed but is much more limited than in conventional wine making.
Biodynamic winemaking has the same approach as organic wine making in term of banning chemicals and using natural remedies but it goes a step further. It has a holistic approach based on the work of Rudolph Steiner and it incorporates philosophy and cosmology believing that all elements in the universe are connected. Work in the vineyard and in the winery will coincide with planet and lunar calendars. Homeopathic treatments called “preparations” will be used as natural fertilisers and remedies.
Currently there are no official guidelines for the production of natural wine, although efforts are underway to develop a more precise definition. Additionally, unlike organic and biodynamic, there is currently no certification for natural wines.
In essence, natural wines are made with very little human intervention in the vineyard and the winery. This generally means that wines are produced using limited use, if any, of remedies, sulphites and cultured yeast.