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Organic Vs. Biodynamic Wine

Mindy Pennybacker, author of "Do One Green Thing" and editor of GreenerPenny.com, answers your green living questions. 

Q: What's the difference between organic and biodynamic wine?

A: I think of the two as fraternal, not identical, twins. Here's how they're similar: Both organic and biodynamic wines use grapes grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers or bioengineered seeds. 

To be labeled biodynamic, a wine must adhere to an additional set of rules. Under biodynamic standards, first developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924, farms must recycle and compost, employ crop rotation, and protect and respect natural ecosystems and wildlife; chlorine and fluoride must be filtered from any water used to wash grapes or make the wine itself. 

Biodynamic farming also incorporates a few mystical practices that may leave you scratching your head, such as burying a cow horn filled with manure, and planting and harvesting according to phases of the sun and moon. 

The farms and products are certified by the Demeter Association, in much the same way that organic products are certified by the USDA. If you want to drink "green" wine, the ideal is a bottle that's both biodynamic and organic. For a list of top choices and where to find them, go to greenerpenny.com.

For green-living tips on other topics, read more advice from Mindy.

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