Earth-Friendly Wine from Chile

September 12, 2010 | By | Comments (0)

DSC00189 Emiliana
An organic vineyard at Emiliana; photo courtesy Emiliana

Yet another report from my trip to the wine regions
of Chile! While organic and biodynamic wines may not be on the minds of some
wine lovers, "green" wine is becoming more mainstream these days and
Chile produces a ton of really delicious examples of both. I didn't realize the
extent of the "green" wine movement in Chile until my visit; many
wineries farm biodynamically and/or organically even if they don't get the
official certification. Here's a quick explanation of organic and biodynamic so
you're clear on the concept. Organic wine is
 made from certified organically grown grapes (which means no fungicides or pesticides were used), without any synthetic additives or added sulfites (though naturally occurring sulfites will still be
present). If the wine has added sulfites but is otherwise organic, it will be labeled "wine made from organic grapes."

A biodynamic
wine (BD for short) means that the grapes are farmed biodynamically, and that
the winemaker did not make the wine with yeast additions or acidity
adjustments. A wine labeled “made from biodynamic grapes” means that a
winemaker used biodynamically grown grapes, but used yeasts or other winemaking

Biodynamic is similar to organic farming in that both take place without chemicals, but biodynamic farming views the vineyard as an ecosystem, and incorporates ideas about astrology and lunar cycles and often uses homeopathic treatments to treat vine problems like mildew. 

in case you're wondering, there's no sacrifice in taste in these wines. (In
fact, some of the winemakers I spoke to said that organic and BD wines taste
even better than "regular" wine.) Some of my favorite producers are
Errazuriz, De Martino
(which I wrote about last week);
which makes organic wine under the Nativa label; Vina San Pedro (who makes an
organic line of wines called
and last but not least,
Emiliana (try
their 2007 Coyam, a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and
Malbec; it's the second wine in Chile to be certified biodynamic. In addition
to Coyam, their wines are bottled under the Novas and Natura labels. And they
are the largest organic grape grower in Chile, with 1,700 certified organic
acres.) All of these wines are readily available in the U.S. and are
priced in the $10-25 range; click on the websites for more info. 

Cheers to Chile!


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