After years of negotiations between the member states, in February 2012 the SCOF (Standing Committee on Organic Farming) issued an EU regulation with precise rules for vineyards and, in contrast to earlier regulations, now also for cellars for the production of organic wine. Until then, organic wine producers could only indicate on the label "wine from grapes from organic and ecological cultivation", as there were no production rules for the vinification of organic wines. However, this designation is now no longer permitted. Wines produced according to the new rules may now optionally be described as "organic wine", "organic wine", "organic wine" or "wine from organic/organic cultivation". The production of organic wine is thus directly related to certified organic (ecological) viticulture.
Prerequisite is the adherence to the guidelines for vineyard management, as well as the vinification of the wines according to the organic wine guidelines in accordance with the EU Organic Regulation and the resulting certification as an organic farm by one of the state-approved organic or organic inspection bodies. If necessary, a voluntary membership in one of the many organic associations such as Bioland, DEMETER or ECOVIN, which are usually even stricter, can be added to the requirements. However, membership of one of these associations is not mandatory. There are also controls in accordance with the association's guidelines, but these are usually carried out by the organic/organic control bodies. A sole certification by an association is not possible without the mandatory state EU organic certification.
During the certification process, the areas of vines permitted for the production of organic wine are also determined. This means that the winegrower can also cultivate other areas not permitted for organic wine (but individual organic associations exclude this). However, an organic farm can also market wines not produced according to organic rules. This can be caused by weather-related difficult years, if the strict restrictions are not possible. If an organic wine exceeds the legal maximum level of sulphur dioxide but is within the limit for conventional wine, it is permitted to market the wine as "normal" wine. In this case, of course, the label must not contain any organic information. There are also organic farms that produce wines conventionally. These must be processed and stored separately. Organic wines often also meet the criteria for vegetarian and possibly vegan wines. The reason for this is the sparing use of certain substances such as protein.
Organic wines must come from at least 95% organic production. During vinification, certain oenological practices and genetic engineering are prohibited. The maximum permissible levels for sulphites (salts of sulphurous acid) are 100 mg/l in red wine (non-organic wine 150) and up to 150 mg/l in white wine (non-organic wine 200), with a deviation of 30 mg/l being permitted if the residual sugar content is above 2 g/l. The use of sorbic acid (for preservation) is prohibited. Certain techniques are only permitted to a limited extent, e.g. oxygen management and filtration. Individual agents are only permitted for a limited period of time, which can be determined individually by the countries or associations. In addition to the organic wine-specific requirements, the general regulations according to the Common Market Organisation for Wine 2009 naturally also apply.
Organic wines may carry the organic seal of the European Union (EU Biologo). In addition, an association logo of the numerous organic/organic associations can also be used in case of a (but not mandatory) membership. An umbrella organisation for organic associations in Austria is Bio Austria, the counterpart for the organic associations in Germany BÖLW (Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft), where the organic associations of these two countries are also listed. Finally, it should be noted that organic wine does not automatically mean better quality, as a number of other prerequisites are also necessary for this.
All aids, work and measures in the vineyard during the vegetation cycle can be found under vineyard care. Complete lists of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law can be found under the keyword vinification. Comprehensive wine law information can be found under the keyword wine law.