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Categorising wines

Throughout the website, and our printed portfolio you will see symbols denoting various categories of wine. Some are widely accepted definitions, such as being suitable for vegetarian and vegan or certified organic, others are open more to interpretation.


A wine is vegetarian only if during the winemaking process there has been no use of any meat, fish and poultry products or by-products.


A wine is vegan if no animal products have been used, including all dairy products, such as milk, eggs, isinglass or animal gelatine.

Certified Organic

We determine that a wine to be organic if it is certified by a recognized body, such as the Soil Association.

Practicing Organic

We determine a winery as practicing organic principles if the vineyard and winery practices follow generally accepted organic principles and if the ethos and intent of the producer is to produce wine organically even if not certified.


We determine a wine is biodynamic if it is certified by Demeter or similar body. Or if the wine has been made following the teachings of Rudolph Steiner. Wineries need not follow Steiner’s principles exactly, or to the letter, for Alliance to consider them, and their wines, to be biodynamic in their approach, intention and creation.


We determine a wine to be natural if it has been sustainably farmed following organic or biodynamic principles and with nothing, or very little, removed or added during winemaking. This includes the use of yeast or any other additive, such as sulphur. There is no clear universal definition of natural wine and Alliance understands this and considers each wine and winery on its own merits when making the determination.


A winery should be considered as sustainable if they hold any official environmental, social or sustainable certification.

Why have we done this?

You might ask why we feel the need to spell out these definitions. Aren’t they all pretty well understood and accepted?

Although this is right to a degree, none of these categories have a formal legal definition and they can be interpreted differently by different people. Although most of the time everyone tends to be in broad agreement.

The other thing to consider is that the desire for vegan or organic and, indeed natural wines is growing, it is not necessarily within anyone rigid expectation. It is the ethos and philosophy behind the creation of these wines that people find important more than the fact that they are necessarily certified. This, we heartily agree with, but it also muddies the waters and can be confusing. So that is why we have decided to be clear on the subject, so you and your customers know where you stand with our wines.