Organic and biodynamic certification
Not all grapes grown organically are certified as organic, and not all wines made from certified organic grapes display this on the label. But certification is a useful guarantee.
Within the EU, each country is responsible for certifying its own organic producers in accordance with EU law. Most countries devolve this power to independent certification bodies, which are then regulated by the ministry of agriculture.
In France there are six government approved certification bodies : Ecocert, Qualité France, ULSAE, Agrocert, Certipaq and ACLAVE.
Demeter does not certify producers directly. It uses the same government approved bodies that certify produce as organic.
To achieve biodynamic certification a producer must farm using the herbal sprays and composting techniques developed by Rudolf Steiner.
It is recommend but not necessary that he follow the biodynamic calendar, regulated by the movements of the spheres.
An organic association is a group of organic producers that market their produce communally. It is not a certification body and must use one of the officially recognised bodies to certify its members.
Associations are important because they can place their own restrictions on the vinification of members’ wines. It’s one way of plugging the gap left by EU law.
But exactly what these restrictions are varies from association to association and there is currently none that guarantees a really natural wine.