Sustainable, Organic & Biodynamic Wine

We previously announced the beginning of our transition to include more organic and local wines on our wine by the glass menu at The Fearrington House. We live in a very exciting time for wine, and one fortunately where some of the best producers are using organic or biodynamic methods. There are three main types of eco-friendly viticulture: Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic.

Sustainable viticulture is a practice that has no formal regulations, but states a grower interest in the long-term viability of their vineyard as well as having a minimal effect on the environment. Here, farmers choose for themselves which techniques to implement and which to avoid. There are certifications for sustainable, and certifying organizations vary by country and region.

To be clear, in talking about organics as it pertains to wine, the wines we offer are going to be made from organically grown grapes, the wines themselves are not organic. For grapes to be organic they have to be grown without any synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers, engineered plant materials, and pesticides. There are many certifying groups for organic agriculture, and some of the producers featured on our wines by the glass are certified. In the United States, wines that are deemed organic do not use additional sulfates to stabilize the wine.

The practices that are involved in biodynamic agriculture have been used for centuries. However, it was a series of lecture done by Rudolph Steiner -Austrian Spiritualist, Scientist, Philosopher, Educator, and Architect – in the 1920s, and then expanded upon by his student Maria Thun, that brought them into a concentrated working philosophy. The basis is vineyards or farms should exist holistically and in tune with nature. Compost is made on the farm, soils are fertilized with animal waste, and a selection of seven treatments, using all natural products, are mandated for use. All farming activities are done in line with the cycles of the moon and the twelve houses of the Zodiac. The goal is to create a natural harmony where the vineyard takes care of itself. There is an international certifying group called Demeter for Biodynamic certification. Some of the producers on our list are Demeter certified.

We are excited to begin including more vineyards and farms that work hard to maintain these practices on our by the glass menu. Follow Fearrington’s Wine Team on Facebook to get more updates and see how our wine menu is changing!

– Maximilian Kast, Wine Director

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