Classifications of ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ come with rigid standards, and those standards vary between regions and governing bodies. In the meantime, ‘natural’ has become a catch-all term for wines made with little or no intervention that either do not meet those strict standards or have not been certified by a third-party certification body.
Everything around us has microscopic yeast living on it. These yeast strains vary greatly, and many are unique to their specific environment. In winemaking, yeast combines with sugar to start fermentation. Many winemakers add commercial yeast and sugar from concentrated grape skins at the fermentation stage to alter a wine’s flavor profile. This is obviously not in line with a low-intervention approach (and some believe commercial yeasts may even be a culprit for next-day headaches).
We practice native yeast fermentation, which means we do not add any yeast — commercial or otherwise — during the winemaking process. In other words, we rely only on the yeast that co-exists with the grapes in our vineyards to do the fermentation. We believe this gives a greater sense of place to our wines and highlights their unique qualities.
We do not use any pesticides in the vineyards. In the Navarre region, the biggest culprits are grape bunch moths and yellow spiders. For the moths, we use pheromones that discourage the moths from reproducing (the only thing we kill is the mood). For the spiders, we plant flowers that encourage the presence of natural predators.
For protection from certain molds and mildews, we do use small amounts of copper and sulfur, the most commonly used mold protection agents in organic farming (for grapes, but also for potatoes, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables). We carefully manage usage based on predicted rainfall.