Research suggests today\u2019s wine drinker cares about sustainability. According to an analysis by the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR), a drinks market insights company, nearly half of American consumers say they were more inclined to purchase wines in 2022 that had \u201csustainability or environmental initiatives.\u201d \n\n\n\nBeyond purchasing wines that follow trendy terms like organic or natural, one common wine term grouped in with sustainability is biodynamic. But what does biodynamic wine really mean? How is biodynamic wine different than organic? How can you tell if the wine you\u2019re purchasing is biodynamic? \n\n\n\nTo help understand this category and make greener purchases, we pulled together some of our favorite biodynamic wines and answered some common questions about the category. \n\n\n\nWhat Is Biodynamic Wine? \n\n\n\nBiodynamic wine producers focus on more than just the vines. They have a philosophy that their vineyard is one functioning organism and aim to maintain their farms with minimal reliance on imported goods. Instead, they have everything they need coming from the farm itself.\n\n\n\nThey often have animals on the farm to produce manure and compost, grow cover crops and protect insect communities along with many other practices (which you can check out here). They also follow a lunar calendar, which tells them when to prune, plant, harvest and treat the vineyard, as well as when to open and taste wine. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBiodynamic farming has been around since the early 1920s when industrial agriculture was on the rise and Austrian farmers noticed their soil quality depleting. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist and philosopher, put together his theory of biodynamics and his principles are still in use today. But it\u2019s not without its critics. Steiner himself was a founding member of the Anthroposophical Society, a spiritual group that upheld racist ideas. Today\u2019s biodynamic community struggles to separate his agricultural teachings from his personal beliefs.\n\n\n\nMany agriculturalists and scientists haven\u2019t found enough evidence to show that biodynamic methods actually work. But producers who grow biodynamically are often keen to sing their praises. \n\n\n\n\u201cWe see resilience in our vines and the quality of fruit reflects the care and attention to detail that comes with this philosophy of farming,\u201d says Brittany Sherwood, director of winemaking at Heitz Cellar in Napa Valley. According to the winery\u2019s website, they are moving toward being biodynamic.\n\n\n\nMini Byers, co-owner and general manager of Johan Vineyards and Cowhorn Vineyard in Oregon, echoes this sentiment. \u201cWhen you are committed to farming biodynamically, you can see and taste those philosophies come to life,\u201d Byers says. \u201cYou have a healthier and balanced microbiome in your soil, and in turn, a much healthier and stronger vine. From those vines, you\u2019re able to produce fruit that has verve and a specific aliveness to it. When that fruit comes into the winery, you are able to create a wine that does become a true expression of this site and reflects the unique aspects of this vineyard.\u201d \n\n\n\nBiodynamic Wines to Try\n\n\n\nKing Estate 2021 Domaine Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nFelton Road 2019 Block 5 Pinot Noir (Central Otago)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nCullen 2019 Kevin John Wilyabrup Chardonnay (Margaret River)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nDomaine Marcel Deiss 2017 Rotenberg White (Alsace)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nTroon 2020 Estate Vineyard Syrah (Applegate Valley)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBrooks 2019 Bois Joli Riesling (Eola-Amity Hills)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nNittnaus Anita und Hans 2019 Lange Ohn Blaufr\u00e4nkisch (Leithaberg)\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nFAQs \n\n\n\nHow Do I Know if My Wine Is Biodynamic? \n\n\n\nFor consumers interested in buying biodynamic wines, it\u2019s not as easy as looking at the label. The Demeter organization certifies wines as biodynamic, and you\u2019ll find their mark on the label. But not every winery using biodynamic methods chooses to get certified. Certification and annual renewal gets expensive, which for small wineries can be prohibitive.\n\n\n\nMany wineries use biodynamic practices but don\u2019t choose certification. The best way to know is to shop at a local wine store and ask the staff for a biodynamic option. They can steer you in the right direction. \n\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the Difference Between Organic and Biodynamic Wine? \n\n\n\nThere is a lot of overlap between these two farming methods.\n\n\n\nBut, organic practices focus on removing synthetic and chemical fertilizers and pesticides and replacing them with organic options. Organic certification also requires growers to act on water conservation efforts and consider overall sustainability.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAll biodynamic growers use organic methods of grape growing, and they take additional steps to use methods that add vigor to the vineyard, including using compost and different plants to increase microbial activity and enrich the soil. Biodynamic growers focus on building strong vineyards that work in tandem with their ecosystem for healthy soils and vines that, ideally, don\u2019t fall victim to disease.\n\n\n\n\u201cBiodynamic farming brings us closer to our land and teaches us that the vines are just one part of a complex ecosystem,\u201d says Carlton McCoy, M.S., CEO of Lawrence Wine Estates. \u201cIt reminds us that we ourselves are a part of this ecosystem.\u201d\n\n\n\nDo Biodynamic Wines Have Sulfites in Them? \n\n\n\nDemeter does allow for some sulfites in the winemaking process. Up to 100 parts per million is allowed, but don\u2019t fear\u2014unless you have a sulfur allergy, you won\u2019t likely feel any adverse effects. (Sulfites cannot be added to organic wines). \n\n\n\nSulfites are a naturally occurring element. If you can happily eat dried fruit like apricots or raisins, which can have a whopping 2,000 parts per million, you likely aren\u2019t allergic to sulfur. You may be feeling the effects of added sugar or other chemical elements in your wine, which biodynamics is staunchly against.