Organic Terms


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Organic terms used in wine country

Many wineries are turning to what are called “Green” practices.
These are the most common “Green Practices” employed by several wineries.

  • Organic farming
  • Biodynamic
  • Sustainability
  • Use of solar power
  • Use of bio diesel fuels (fuels derived from vegetable oil)
  • Water conservation
  • Reduction of waste

Find out which wineries are biodyanamic, using sustainable practicies, or are farming organically.

Find out which wineries are using solar panels.

organic terms wine country

Handley Cellars

Handley Cellars in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley farms organically and their vineyards have been certified by the California Certfied Organic Farmers Association.

Organic Wineries and Vineyard Terms

Certified Organic

Vineyards posting this certification symbol (Photo) have been certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers. In order to be certified the winery must be inspected and pass all regulations required by this organization.

There are wineries that practice organic farming to some degree but not to the extent to be “Certified Organic.” They may be missing just one requirement.

Organic farming means that the vineyards are farmed without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. At a winery employing organic farming it is likely to find hawk, owl, and bat houses, a variety of cover plants, and the extensive use of composting. For more information see the CCOF Web site.

Biodynamic Farming

Biodynamic Farming is more of a concept or a philosophy. It is a holistic approach to farming with the idea that the farm is looked upon as an living organism. Everything that is done on the farm should bring harmony to the organism. The idea is to follow a list of practices that will keep the soil healthy and preserved the farm for future generations. For more information, see the Demeter Association Web site.


Sustainability is the idea that all farming practices should be done to preserve the land so that it continually provides for all current and future generations. The farm is never depleted.
Organic Wine

To produce an organic wine, the winery must produce the wine from organic vineyards and not add any sulfites to the wine. Very few wineries produce an organic wine because of the need to add sulfites as a preservative.

More Information on Organic, Sustainability, and Biodynamic

At a recent meeting of the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, three winemakers presented information on this topic. Information about this meeting can be found on our Wine Country Blog. A podcast of this program is available and the Commonwealth Web site. Look for the title: Wine: Sustainable, Organic, Biodynamic – What Does it All Mean?

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

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