Organic Wine? A Breakdown of What That Really Means

Learn how to translate marketing terms used to describe "green wine."

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pouring glass of wine

Learn how to translate the marketing terms used to describe “green wine.”

Many wines declare they’re green, but what do the planet-positive claims on the bottle really mean? John Conover, partner in and general manager of CADE Estate Winery and general manager of PlumpJack Winery—the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified estate winery in Napa Valley—breaks down the marketing buzzwords:

100 Percent Organic

The US government regulates use of the term “organic,” requiring no commercial fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides be used.

See also Is Your Wine Organic?


The vineyard is approached as an ecosystem and doesn’t follow common manipulations like adding yeast or adjusting acidity in the wine.


It is one tier down from organic farming, meaning it’s less restrictive—some herbicide is allowed, energy is conserved, and rain and winery wastewater are captured to irrigate the vineyards.


During the winemaking process, everything is made without animal products like egg whites, which are sometimes used for “fining” or filtering wine.

See also 21-Day Vegan Challenge: Recipe List