The A-Z of Sustainable Wine: Wine Terms to Know

Are you interested in sustainable wine? Or maybe even organic or biodynamic wine? In this handy glossary, we list all the terms you should know! 



Additional ingredients used during winemaking. While it’s not mandatory to list ingredients on wine bottles, there are plenty of additives that winemakers have at their disposal – from cultured yeast to sulphur, but also “mega purple,” a grape concentrate to “colour correct” red wine.


An agroecosystem is a cultivated ecosystem – usually a farm – a co-production between nature and humans. It strives to achieve a harmonious balance between people and the environment for current and future generations. 

Amphorae, see: “Qvevri


Biodynamic Winemaking

Biodynamic winemaking is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to farming, recognizing the vineyard as a self-regulating ecosystem. Originating from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic viticulture meets or exceeds the standards for organic farming practices, using only natural resources to cultivate grapes, and absolutely no pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, etc. 

sustainable wines through biodiversity in the vineyard

Biodiversity in the Vineyard

Vineyard biodiversity refers to the diverse variety of animals, plants, and microorganisms within the vineyard at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. Biodiverse vineyards are more resilient.


Brettanomyces, also known as “brett”, is a rogue spoilage yeast that affects a lot of wines. In low doses, it can add complexity and interest to the wine, but in high doses, it’s commonly considered a wine fault. Brett aromas range from “leathery” to “spicy” to “horsey” and “barnyard-y” in higher concentrations. A lot of spontaneously fermented wines are affected by brett. 


Canada Organic

Canada Organic is a certification that indicates a product is in line with Canadian Organic Standards (COS) and can use the Canada Organic Logo. The certification is carried out by third-party certification bodies.

Carbonic Maceration

Carbonic maceration uses whole clusters of grapes in a sealed, carbon dioxide-filled tank to start fermentation internally within each grape without crushing them. It is used to produce fresh, fruit-forward, low-tannin red wines.

Circular Economy

The circular economy is an economic model based on the principle of limited resources. Inspired by the natural ecosystem, the model prioritizes sustainable growth through the practices of reducing, reusing, and recycling resources. Many wineries around the world are shifting to a more circular and regenerative approach.


Copper compounds, in the form of copper sulphate, have been used by winegrowers to fight fungi and bacteria attacking vines, most notably powdery mildew. Copper is used by organic growers who are not allowed to spray with synthetic fungicides. However, even though copper is a trace element naturally found in plants and animals, its continued use can pose risks to farmers, animals, and groundwater. The EU has already reduced the maximum allowable quantities. 

Conversion to Organic Farming

If a vineyard wants to go organic, it cannot do so immediately – there’s a three-year transition period involved, which needs to be carefully planned and monitored, including mandatory measures to promote and protect ecosystem health. Only after these three years can a vineyard become certified organic.

Cover Crops

Cover crops are wild or selected crops growing between rows of vines that promote biodiversity and support the long-term health of a vineyard and surrounding ecosystems. They help protect against erosion, supply nutrients, and promote aeration of the soils. These crops also provide a habitat for beneficial insects, which help fight harmful bugs.

Cow Horn Preparations

In biodynamic winemaking, vineyards are treated with horn manure, commonly known as “500”. Cow manure is put into cow horns and buried underground during the winter months. The compost is then made into a spray preparation, which is sprayed on the land to improve soil health. During the summer months, quartz crystals are buried in a cow horn to make horn silica (“501”) which boosts plants’ immunity and enhances photosynthesis and ripening.

cow horn stuffed with biodynamic compost preparations



Named after the Greek goddess of agriculture, Biodynamic Federation Demeter International dates back to 1928 and is the world’s oldest ecological certification organization. A Demeter International label is a guarantee for consumers that a product was produced through biodynamic agriculture. 


Dry-farming means growing crops without irrigation, relying only on rainfall. With irrigation under scrutiny, dry-farming is considered the more environmentally-friendly way of grape growing. Proponents also claim it yields grapes that are more intensely flavoured. Dry-farming grapes is easier when vines are mature because their roots reach deeper. The practice is considered a requirement for making natural wine.



Founded in France in 1991, ECOCERT is one of the largest organic certification organizations worldwide, conducting inspections in over 80 countries. They certify food and food products, but also cosmetics and detergents. 

Ecological Footprint

The Ecological Footprint, promoted by the Global Footprint Network, is a metric that compares the resource demand of individuals, governments, and businesses against the earth’s capacity for biological regeneration. In other words, the quantity of nature it takes to support a person, organization, or national economy. 


Fairtrade Wine

Fairtrade is a certification which guarantees that vineyards receive a fair minimum price when they sell their wine or grapes to a trader, depending on the cost of living and business in the area of origin. A Fairtrade Premium ensures that small vineyards can invest in social, economic, and environmental improvements which benefit their workers and local communities.


Fining is the process of removing unwanted material from wine while it is still in the cellar. It involves adding an organic matter to the wine which bonds to compounds in the wine, making these larger molecules easier to remove. With filtering, particles such as dead yeast cells and other sediments can be removed, but with fining it’s possible to remove soluble substances such as proteins as well, which allows the finished wine to look clear rather than hazy. Winemakers who don’t clarify their wine say their wine retains more character, texture and flavour – natural wine is often merely minimally filtered. See also: Vegan Wine.



This onomatopoeia would be “glug-glug” in English, and it’s a French word for a popular type of natural wine that is young, fruit-forward, and juicy. Glou-glou wines are relatively low in alcohol and very drinkable – often served chilled. 

Gravity-Flow Winemaking

The process of gravity-flow winemaking (also known as “gravity-fed” winemaking) allows for the wine to stream through levels in the winery. Unlike traditional single-level cellars, gravity-flow does not use pumps or mechanical force, enabling the winemaker to gently extract colour, flavour, and tannins. The process is more environmentally friendly – with no machinery needed, a gravity-flow system significantly reduces a winery’s costs and energy consumption. 



Indigenous Yeast, see: “Yeast

Integrity & Sustainability Certified, see: “Sustainable Winemaking




LEED-Certified Building

A winery can voluntarily obtain a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification when its buildings are energy-efficient and cost-saving. The building must meet requirements regarding sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, use of materials, and indoor environmental quality. In 2005, Niagara’s Stratus Winery was the first building to get the certification in Canada.

Lunar Calendar

In biodynamic winemaking, farming is done according to the biodynamic calendar, which reflects the lunar cycle. It suggests a direct correlation between the phases of the moon – the moon’s sidereal cycle – and the success of each phase of planting. “Root days” are best for pruning, and on “leaf days” chlorophyll production in the plant increases. Harvesting should be done on “fruit days.“ On “flower days” the vineyard should be best left alone. Tasks in the wine cellar also follow the lunar calendar.

Low Intervention, see: “Minimal Intervention


Minimal Intervention

Just like “natural winemaking,” minimal intervention winemaking has no legal definition. Yet, many winemakers prefer the terms “minimal intervention” or “low intervention” over “natural wine” since it more aptly describes what they do, or rather don’t do, such as only using ambient yeast, using no or minimal amounts of sulphites and not fining the wine. While they’re trying to be as hands-off as possible, they need to create the circumstances to ensure that this process runs smoothly, such as using healthy fruit and maintaining a squeaky clean winery.


“Mousiness” is considered a mysterious wine fault, creating an off-flavour right as you swallow – a breathy finish that some compare to a “dead mouse” or a “mouse cage”. It seems to present itself quite randomly in the barrel or tank, especially in wines without added sulphites.


Naked Wine, see: “Natural Wine

Native Yeast, see: “Yeast

Natural Wine

Sometimes also called “minimal intervention” wine, natural wine is a fashionable term without legal definition. Natural winemakers use organic or biodynamic grapes, but also only rely on native yeasts in the fermentation process, adding no or almost no sulphur. The wines are often unfined and unfiltered. Natural wine is sometimes also referred to as “Naked Wine” or “Raw Wine”.


Orange Wines, see “Skin-fermented wines

Organic Wine

In Europe and Canada, a wine from organically grown grapes may be certified organic, even if there are some added sulphites. In the USA, however, an organic wine can’t contain any added sulphites. In 2019, 6.2 percent of the world’s total area under vines was certified organic. Organic viticulture focuses on improving soil health, without the use of synthetic fertilizers, fungicides or herbicides. Various bodies around the world provide organic certification. Read more in this article on organic wine.


When a wine is “oxidative”, it means it was deliberately exposed to oxygen when it was made. This practice adds a bit of complexity to a wine, with some nutty, dried-fruit tones. Natural wines, made with little to no sulphur additions, are often oxidative. An oxidative wine isn’t the same thing as a wine that has “oxidized,” which is a wine fault. If the wine is brown and smells off, it’s probably oxidized. 



Pét-Nat is an abbreviation of “Pétillant Naturel”, which refers to an ancient method of making sparkling wine. When still wine is bottled before fermentation is completed, this process continues in the bottle, but the CO2 gets trapped. Pét-Nat has a slight fizz, and is often cloudy because the lees (the dead yeast cells) are not filtered out. In the Prosecco area, this ancient method is called “Col Fondo”. Pét-nat is a popular style among natural winemakers



The region now known as the country of Georgia is considered to be the cradle of wine. Ancient Georgians used clay amphorae called “qvevri” to ferment and store wine in. Usually, they were buried in the ground up to the neck. Modern winemakers in Georgia were the first to re-embrace their qvevri roots. The practice of fermenting and ageing wine in amphorae was then adopted by a few Northern Italian winemakers who were interested in making minimal-intervention wines. Today, the use of amphorae has spread to winemaking regions across the globe and is no longer exclusive to natural winemakers. 


Raw Wine, see: “Natural Wine

Regenerative Winemaking

Regenerative winemaking sees the vineyard as an agroecosystem – taking all living organisms into account and making the vineyard rich, resilient, and self-sustaining. It moves away from chemical-based monocultural agriculture, and instead regenerates soils and environments, achieving greater biodiversity. It involves crop rotation, compost application, and reduced tillage to increase soil health and improve the agroecosystem as a whole. 


Skin-Fermented Wines

Also called orange wines, amber wine, or skin-contact wines, skin-fermented wines are a category of white wines that are made like a red wine. Most white wines are made when grape juice is pressed, taken off the skins, and then fermented. In red winemaking, there’s usually some time that the skins are left soaking in the juice to extract colour, tannins, and flavour. When this same technique is done with white grapes, it results in a more vibrantly coloured (from golden to deep amber) wine with various degrees of tannins and structure. These wines are usually made with minimal intervention

Soil health

Soil health is the long-term ability of the soil to function as an ecosystem and sustain life. It’s a holistic and integrative approach to soil, making sure the soil contributes to the preservation of natural resources.


Almost all wine contains sulphites, because sulphur dioxide is a byproduct of alcoholic fermentation. In the vineyard, sprayed sulphur can protect against disease and in the cellar, it can function as a wine preservative. The permissible quantities are strictly regulated, especially in organic and biodynamic winemaking. Some winemakers opt out of its use entirely, see: “natural wine”.

Sustainable Wine

Sustainable winemaking isn’t strictly regulated, but it is generally a set of measures taken by a winery to reduce its impact on the environment. These measures can include reducing water and energy use, improving long-term soil health, reducing erosion, promoting biodiversity, and implementing health and safety requirements for workers. Often, winegrowers adhere to their country’s or region’s sustainable winemaking standards: 96 percent of New Zealand’s vineyard area falls under the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certification programme (SWNZ). In Chile, winegrowers voluntarily adhere to the Chilean Wine Industry Sustainability Code. In South Africa, audited vineyards and wineries may use the Integrity Sustainability Seal on their sustainable wine.

Steiner, Rudolf

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was a scientist and philosopher, and the founder of the biodynamic approach to agriculture (See: “Biodynamic winemaking”).



Terroir is the combination of soil, climate, sunlight and other factors within a vineyard that lend wine grapes their distinctive taste. Some say terroir gives wine a “sense of place” and character. Organic, biodynamic, and natural winemakers are concerned with allowing the purest possible expression of their terroir to come through.


Unfiltered/Unfined Wine, see: Filtration/Fining

USDA Organic

In the United States, a wine may be organically certified when grapes are organically grown, and all additives (such as yeast) are organic. The addition of sulphites isn’t allowed, which explains why there aren’t many certified organic wines from the US on the market – the best natural preservative for wine is sulphur. 


Vin Méthode Nature

Established in 2019, Vin Méthode Nature is the first private wine label for natural wine, officially defined by a 12-point charter and a control protocol. No sulphur may be added before and during fermentation, but a minimum amount before bottling is allowed (in which case it needs to be mentioned on the label). The French initiative has an Italian counterpart in VinNatur.

Vegan Wine

Not all wine is vegan, as some traditional fining agents contain products derived from animals. Egg whites, casein (a milk protein), or a product derived from fish bladders can be used to remove tiny particles in the wine, but other fining methods are becoming increasingly popular, making most wines vegan-friendly. For instance, bentonite (a type of clay), limestone or plant casein are all alternatives. Still, it can be hard to tell as it is not mandatory to list fining agents. Look for the V-label if you want to be 100 percent sure that a vine is vegan. 

Volatile Acidity

Often abridged to VA, volatile acidity is a measure of the amount of gaseous acids in a wine. The main concern is with acetic acid, which has the smell and taste of vinegar, and ethyl acetate, which causes nail polish-like aromas. Excessive VA levels in a wine are an indicator of bacterial spoilage. Not only do people have varying sensory thresholds for detecting VA, natural wine enthusiasts seem to be more accepting of it, as natural winemaking increases the likelihood of high VA levels. 


Water Management

Efficient water use is one of the keys to sustainable winemaking alongside energy conservation, lowering emissions, and waste reduction. Winemakers can reuse treated wastewater, use drip irrigation, and control soil moisture as methods of water management. Dry-farming relies on using rainwater only (see: “Dry-farming”).

Wild Yeast, see “Yeast




The most widely used yeast for winemaking is saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as baker’s yeast because it’s quite tolerant of alcohol. It’s either introduced as a commercial culture, or introduced to the winery by accident (for instance via someone’s clothes) where it lives on. Cultured yeast strains are usually carefully selected to accentuate certain aromas or flavours and to ensure a smooth fermentation. Some winemakers rely purely on the yeast that naturally occurs on grape skins and the environment, also known as ambient, indigenous, natural, or wild yeast. This sets off spontaneous fermentation, and the length of the fermentation period becomes harder to predict. 



“Zero-zero” winemakers take natural or minimal intervention winemaking to the extreme: no added yeast or sulphites are used, and the wine is unfined and unfiltered. In other words: zero was added and zero was taken away. See also: “Natural Wine”.

At WineCollective, we’re always on the lookout for new exciting wines, and make sure to share our discoveries and rare finds with our members. Become a member today, and join us as we explore uncharted territories and discover wonderful grape varieties and unusual blends.

Are Wine Subscriptions Worth It?

Thinking about becoming a WineCollective member or joining another wine club, but you’re concerned about value? We’ll delve into the details, so you can decide for yourself whether wine subscriptions are worth the cost.

man sticking his nose in glass of red wine

Why would you join a wine club?

Whatever reason you have for joining a wine club, there will always be a wine subscription that meets your specific needs. Maybe you’re a fan of natural wines, and looking for ways to get your hands on them? Or a fan of good deals? Perhaps you’re purely interested in wines from a certain country or region? There’s a wine subscription out there that’s just right for you!!

Subscription services and wine clubs provide numerous benefits:

Discovery & Curation

Let’s face it: discovering new things is fun. Massive overwhelm when you’re standing in front of that wine aisle is not. Oh, the insecurity, the utter confusion! It makes you want to grab the first bottle under your nose and run out of the store. Wine subscriptions provide the joy of discovery – but the curation is done by somebody else. You know that your wine selection is in good hands, and the fun of discovering your favourite new wine is left to you.

Exclusive Access

Some wine clubs give you access to wines that are unavailable in your local liquor store. You’ll be able to taste wines that are rare in Canada, whether they’re small-batch or otherwise exclusive to members.


Are you the type of person who enjoys something more as you learn more about it? For many people, learning about wine (and getting a deeper appreciation for it) is part of their wine journey. Wine subscriptions often provide tasting notes, videos and other educational content to members so that they can learn about the exciting and vast world of wine. 


As a wine lover, you are going to buy wine anyway, so a wine subscription can save a lot of time and effort. The boxes are conveniently delivered to your door – you only need to sign for them. 

customer receiving a box of wine delivery

Are Wine Clubs Worth It?

Now for the big question: are wine subscriptions worth it? Generally, they are. On top of curation, exclusive access, education and convenience, wine club members often receive great member perks, such as discounts on special sales, access to special events, or limited-time hard-to-find bottles exclusively for members. 

Do Your Research

Before you sign up, it might be helpful to look into a few aspects of the wine club, and see if this is the right fit for you.

Make a list of these things:

  • Is shipping included or excluded in the price?
  • What extras do I get? 
  • How customizable is my wine subscription? Can I choose a selection based on wine colour, number of bottles or can I select all bottles in my pack?
  • How often will I receive shipments? There are clubs that offer monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly packs. Consider how much wine you will drink, and when you will be home to receive it.
  • What is the customer service policy? Will damaged or faulty bottles be replaced or exchanged? Can I skip or pause my subscription without too much hassle?
  • If I’m interested in wine education: what type of wine education does the club offer? Are there tasting notes included with the wine, or even a monthly brochure? Does the club offer recipes if I wanted to pair my wines with dinner?
  • Where are wines sourced from? International? Canada? VQA-certified? Small-batch? Can they be found in the liquor store or are they more exclusive?
  • Does the wine club deliver wines from a single winery or from a variety in a given month’s box? 


As a nice-to-have, it might be a good idea to look into the wine subscription’s values. Are they supporting local industries or charities? You can usually find this information on the wine subscription’s website. Find out how eco-friendly they are – does the shipment arrive in sustainable packaging? Does the club mention any organic wines?

To get an idea of the types of wines that are shipped out to members, you can usually check their store. Here, members can buy previously featured bottles, so you’ll get an idea of the wine selection before you sign up. You’ll see if these are the types of wine you’d typically enjoy.

Lastly, make sure if the wine subscription ships to your province and postal code.

Customers opening wine subscription box

Gifting a Wine Subscription: Is it Worth it?

Everybody loves wine, but instead of just picking up a few bottles at the local liquor store, a wine subscription as a gift is much more than that. You’re giving the gift of discovery, excitement, learning and convenience, for a single month, multiple months or even as long as a whole year.

For the gift giver, it’s as simple as filling out a form – a thoughtful gift without any stress. That’s all we wish for, especially during the holiday season!

Wine Club Brochure

Consider a WineCollective Wine Subscription

All of the above information is helpful when you’re considering joining a wine subscription. It’s good to consider your motivations, expectations and, not unimportantly, your budget. 

Exclusive to Canada

WineCollective offers primarily exclusive wines (not found anywhere else in Canada), sourced from all over the world. Each monthly pack contains 2,3, 4 or 6 bottles, delivered to your doorstep. You can choose from an all-red, all-white (only for the 2-pack) or mixed pack. The pack also comes with a wine tasting guide including tasty recipes and wine pairing suggestions. Members also receive educational content via newsletters and the blog.

Base shipping is included in the price, and we ship to most locations in Canada including rural addresses. We will credit your account for any damaged or faulty bottles, no questions asked. All of this, without a contract: members can cancel anytime!

Member Perks

Access to the member store is another perk: here, members can find past features and exclusive wines not found anywhere else. Members receive 15-50% off the retail price of wine in our online store, with free shipping over $150. WineCollective’s packaging is eco-friendly, and we’re committed to building an environment that values diversity, equality, and inclusion. 


3 More Gift Ideas To Craft For Mom On Mother’s Day

Can’t get enough of these wine bottle craft projects, eh? We can’t either. We’ve got three more ideas to upcycle your wine bottles and gift them to Mom! Last time we shared some ideas about using the top half of your bottles to create a cute planter, and hanging lights

It’s time to use those bottom halves! If you don’t have the bottom half of a wine bottle lying around, that’s alright. Grab an empty (or nearly empty) bottle and cut it – after you finish the contents, of course. If you’re not familiar with cutting a wine bottle in half, check out our guide where we walk you through two easy ways to split a bottle. Once you’re done reading it though, come back so we can get started on our crafts! 

How to Turn an Old Wine Bottle Into A Candle Holder! 

You know Mom’s favorite scents and flavours right? Why don’t you throw them into a candle for her to enjoy, and love? The hardest part of this wine bottle craft is cutting the bottle, but once that’s done, youre ready to roll. 

You’ll need:

  • A wine bottle
  • Some candle wax- pick this up at your local crafts store
  • A wick 
  • Some essential oils 
  • A colour of your choice (optional)
  • Some skewers or popsicle sticks
  • A pot
  • A hot plate

What to do:

Step 1:

Now you don’t have to buy a hot plate, just shimmy on over into the kitchen and use the stove for this project. Cut your bottle first, after this is done, discard the top half, or use it in a different craft project! Next sand down the lip of the bottom half, until it is smooth to avoid getting cut. 

Step 2:

Now you’ll want to create Mom’s special candle recipe! Grab a wick and place it on the bottom of your wine container.

If you’re worried about the wick moving, dip the bottom of the wick in some warmed wax, and then stick it to the bottom of the bottle to adhere it in place. 

Step 3:

Heat the wax in a pot over low heat, until it is completely melted, smooth and clear. Once this is done, you can add a few drops of colouring. This is also when you can add in the essential oils, feel free to pick and choose as you please! 

A simple way to personalize your candle, and make it stand out, is to use a clear bottle half versus a green one, and then grab some flower petals and arrange them on the inside, pressing them against the glass bottle half. 

You can use a drop of water or mod podge to help these petals adhere to the sides of the wine bottle half. Then carefully pour your wax in, avoiding the edges of the wine bottle half  so as not to disrupt your petal arrangement. 

Once your wax is set, the petals will adhere to the wax and the outside of your container will showcase beautiful petals with the bare candle peaking through.

Step 4:

You’ll need more oil than you think, so estimate about 2 teaspoons of oil for every 4 ounces of melted wax. Feel free to adjust this as you see fit. We’ve found some blends you can try out if you’re stuck. 

Some scent ideas to try:

  • Spiced Chai Latte – 3 drops Cardamom, 1 drop Clove, 1 Drop ginger
  • Soothing Citrus – 3 drops each of Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Wild orange, or 3 drops each of Bergamot, Wild Orange, and Cypress
  • Spring Floral – 3 drops each of Ylang Ylang, and Geranium
  • Autumn Spice – 4 drops of Tangerine and two drops of Black Pepper

Step 5:

Once mixed thoroughly (for a full minute), then pour the wax into the bottom half of your wine bottle. You can now use the skewers and popsicle stick to keep the wicks in place as the wax sets. 

Wait until your candles are fully set to cut off the wicks.

Step 9:

Allow the candles to set for at least 2 days before lighting. So, technically, you can make this for Mom even 2 days before Mother’s day, and you’ll still come off as the favourite, since it’s made from the heart *wink wink*.

But what if Mom’s not a fan of candles?

How To Make A Vase Out Of An Old Wine Bottle! 

A simple but unique idea, and it is super customisable! Grab a bottle or two, and let’s get started. 

You’ll need:

  • A wine bottle
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Some freshly cut flowers
  • 1 tsp bleach
  • Some decor like paint, a doily, twine, foil, dry pressed flower
  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp vinegar

What to do:

Step 1:

As always, begin by cutting and sanding your bottle. You can choose to cut your vase wherever you please depending on how large you want your vase to be.

We like to cut it right where the bottle begins to narrow into a neck. That way we have a longer vase to use! 

Step 2:

Once you’ve cut your bottle, you can feel free to customize it for Mom however you want. 

Some ideas to customize Mom’s vase:

  • Paint the inside, and decoupage a coloured doily on the outside. 
  • Decoupage the outside with dried flowers, and paint the inside. 
  • Use a bold colour to paint the inside, then wrap the outside of the vase with twine in sections
  • Leave the vase clear, and accent the wine label with foil. 

And that’s it! Grab a handful of fresh flowers, and put them into your vase, add a ribbon for a final touch and you’re ready to give Mom a bouquet (or two). Our last secret to help you achieve the status of “favourite child” is to use flower food to lengthen the life of your flowers! 

Step 3:

Once you’ve selected your choice of flowers, you’ll need to set them aside, and prep your flower food. Combine the water, bleach, vinegar and sugar, mix well and pour into your vase.

Grab each flower stem one by one, and trim a half-inch off it.

Immediately dunk it into the vase, arranging your flowers as you see fit. After cutting a flower stem, immediately add it to your vase so it’s exposed to the flower food. This is because the stem is more likely to seal VERY quickly if you don’t do this, and the flowers will not be able to hydrate properly.

That’s it, a special bouquet for a special Mom, and one that will last way longer than a week! 

If you’re not a fan of cutting glass bottles, then we have one more craft idea for you. 

How to DIY a Wine Bottle Bird Feeder! 

She’ll enjoy watching little birds fly up to this bird feeder for a bit of grain and seed, and it’s so simple to make too! 

You’ll need :

  • A dremel or drill 
  • Glass cutting bits
  • A hand towel
  • A large enough tub to fully submerge your bottle into
  • Some Heavy copper wire
  • Some Bird seed
  • Decor (Same as previous crafts)

What to do:

This one’s super quick once you get the hang of it! While it may sound even crazier than cutting a bottle, it is simple as long as you do it right! 

In order for this bird feeder to work, you’ll need a small hole about two inches from the base of the bottle to provide access to the seed. You’ll want to aim for at least a third of an inch in diameter. 

Step 1:

Start off by completely filling your bottle with water.

Then fully submerge it in the tub sideways. Lay the towel under the bottle to prevent sliding.

There should be water completely surrounding the bottle. This will equalize forces outside and inside the bottle that will stop the glass from breaking under the pressure of the drill. 

Step 2:

Start with a small drill bit and work your way up to a third of an inch. Slow and steady wins the race!

With your drill bit at an angle, start your drill at your lowest speed, and slowly bring it up vertically against the surface of the bottle.

Keep steady pressure, but let the drill do the heavy lifting. Keep watching closely, as once the drill bit goes through, you’ll want to carefully pull the drill back out, without hitting the other side. 

Repeat with increasingly larger drill bits, until the hole is the desired size. There you go. You made a hole in the glass and we couldn’t be prouder!

Step 3:

Grab the heavy copper wire, and leave about 2 inches of wire before using a pair of pliers to form a tight curl to rest against the bottle, just under the hole you created. The two inches of spare wire will act as a perch for birds to sit on. 

Now holding the curl you formed against the bottom of the bottle, use your hands to wrap the heavy wire around the bottle, making sure to cross the bottom of the bottle, then wrapping around the body two to three times. 

The wire is what will support the bottle as it hangs, but you don’t have to make it snug. Once you get to the neck of the bottle, you can go around it once or twice.

Then make a sharp 90 degree turn towards the top and making a large curl for the bottle to hang from. 

And that’s it, fill it up with bird seed, and it’s ready to be hung!

You can add ornaments to the bottle, by using a lighter copper wire to attach it to the heavy one, or you could foil the bottle – just have fun with it!

Mom’s going to love it anyway, we promise.

We hope you enjoyed our set of wine bottle craft ideas to give to Mom for Mother’s Day. If you’re looking to give Mom a little extra something with your creations, pick up a wine gift from WineCollective! In fact, give her a wine gift, show off your skills and make a fun afternoon out of crafting with Mom – she’ll need the bottles to craft (or drink) either way! 

Mom will get her first box in mid-June, but we’ll give you a printable letter to give to Mom on Mother’s Day along with her craft gift! 

Mother’s Day gift recipients receive:

  • 3 Bottles of wine (all red, all white or mixed)
  • Monthly wine guide including tasting notes, food pairings, and more
  • Access to special member pricing in our online store
  • Sustainable shipping products that are compostable in most Canadian locations
  • For this year only, 3 specially curated recipes for Mom in her first box! 

Gift Her a Wine Education! 

WineCollective is a great choice for Mother’s Day since you are not just gifting wines. Mom will learn about wine from her favorite wine regions, and some that she hasn’t explored yet! 

Now is the perfect time to give Mom the best wine experience possible! Create an unforgettable experience this Mother’s Day! 

Wine Bottle Crafts for Mother’s Day!

What are you getting for Mom this year? Flowers? Or maybe a cute teddy bear? Or perhaps a card? Or… you haven’t thought about it yet? Well, that’s fine! We’ve got the best gift for her! You can give her the gift of wine this Mother’s Day and create an unforgettable experience. Mom will get her first box in mid-June, but we’ll give you a printable letter to give to her on Mother’s Day. 

We’ve also put this guide together for you, in case you wanted to give Mom a little something extra with her letter while she waits! You’ll obviously need your empty wine bottles, and you’ll also need to know how to cut them. If you are familiar with cutting wine bottles for crafts, then you can keep on reading! If you’re looking for some help with cutting wine bottles, and where to begin, be sure to read our guide on cutting wine bottles first! 

Now that you know what to do, let’s get started! 

How To Make A Wine Bottle Planter! (Hanging or Self-Watering)

You’ll need:

  • A wine bottle
  • A bottle cutter 
  • Some potting soil
  • A plant
  • A wick (optional)
  • A cork 
  • Some water
  • A sharp tool like a screwdriver or corkscrew
  • Some macrame cord

What to do:

Step 1:

To begin with, cut your bottle in half – you’ll need the top half of the bottle for this craft. You can save the bottom half to make your planter into a self-watering one. If you plan on making a self-watering planter, you’ll want to make sure that the bottom half is tall enough to support the top half. You’ll be turning the top half upside down and standing it in the bottom half of the wine bottle. If you’re just making the hanging planter, this does not matter, so cut the top half to any size you desire! 

Step 2:

After you have cut the bottle in half, be sure to sand the lips of the halves to remove the sharp edges. 

Step 3:

You’re almost done now! Plug the top of the bottle with the cork again, and turn the top upside down. 

Step 4:

Weave and tie the macrame string around the bottle half, creating a holder, or hanging piece. Depending on how skilled you are, you can do a simple single knot design, or go all the way, and create a fancy macrame hanger with beaded elements and double knots. 

Here is a simple tutorial on how to macrame a wine bottle holder. The only thing to remember is that you will be starting with the narrowest part of the bottle (the neck) and working your way up. 

You should end up with something like this to slip your top half into! 

Step 5:

Once you have your elements ready, you can begin to assemble! 

You can use a jar, or the bottom half of the wine bottle to support your top half, and begin transferring your soil into the top half of the wine bottle.

Ensure the soil is in contact with the cork, and stop about halfway. Then transfer your plant into the soil, and pack additional soil around the plant to secure it. Water it slightly, and you’re ready to slip it into its hanger! 

Voilà! A beautiful planter that can hang by the windows – your plant will receive much-needed sunlight and will also add an elegant touch to your place!

Now you might be wondering, why did we ask you to hang on to the bottom half of the bottle? This is why! If you don’t want to wrap the macrame around the bottle, then before you fill the top half with soil, use a skewer or sharp tool to make a small hole in the cork, then plug the bottle. We chose to use a corkscrew for this. Fill your planter as usual, and sit it in the bottom half. 

Then fill the bottom half of the wine bottle with water so it covers the cork.

And you’re done! Because the cork is porous, and has a hole, it will carry water into the soil and Mom won’t even have to worry about killing her new plant! She just has to remember to change the water once every couple of weeks. 

If you don’t have a cork, you can use the wick instead! Just add a wick or two at the bottom of the planter so it hangs through the neck of the bottle and out and then fill it with soil as usual. The wick will pull the water up through the neck of the bottle and into the soil instead !

If Mom’s not a huge fan of plants, try this second project instead! 

How To Make Wine Bottle Lights!

So she’s not a flower, or plant Mom, eh? That’s fine! Brighten her day, and her home with these cute wine bottle lights! Hang these for some easy and modern wall decor. Or even better, feel free to make multiple of these and use a plank to join and create a larger lighting structure! 

How do you get light into the bottle? Cut it in half of course! Where you choose to split your bottle is your personal choice, but we recommend cutting it at least a third of the way or farther from the neck down so that your lightbulb is contained within the glass. This will add a layer of protection, since lightbulbs can get hot. 

You’ll need:

  • A wine bottle 
  • A cork 
  • A lightbulb with a long cord
  • Some decor such as 
    • Etch cream and stencils 
    • Gold and silver foil 
    • A heavy duty copper wire 
    • Some Mod Podge
  • A sharp tool like a screwdriver or exacto knife

What to do:

Step 1:

Ready to kick off this project? Start by cutting the bottle, sanding it and then come back! 

Step 2:

Next, use your sharp tool to make a hole through the cork. Ensure the hole is as wide as your cord, so it’ll pass through the cork, but not too wide that there’s no grip on the cord.

We simply cut a wedge out of the cork. You don’t want the weight of the bottle to be supported by the lightbulb. The stress of glass-on-glass may cause your bulb to shatter. 

Step 3:

Now you’ll want to unscrew the bulb, to avoid the risk of breaking it during the process.

Then pass the cord through the top of the bottle, the cork, and then plug the bottle with the cork.

Pull or push some cord through the bottle depending on how high or low you want the bulb to sit within the bottle. 

Once you’re happy with the height of the lightbulb, it’s time to customize! 

Step 4:

You can use etching cream on the glass to add a frosted look to the bottle. Or you could make it even fancier by using a stencil to achieve etched patterns on your bottle instead. You could also wrap the outside of the bottle in some copper wire, to give it a rustic look.

Step 5:

Use the gold or silver foil to add some accenting to your bottle, this can be done by applying a thin layer of mod podge where you’d like to foil. Then grab your piece of foil, and stick it onto the mod podge, shiny side up and allow to dry. Once dry, peel your foil and you should have some cool foiling on your bottle. That’s it, when you’re done, just plug it in, and marvel at the pretty light!

If you’re not a fan of cutting bottles, or not too familiar with this process, stick around for our last idea! 

Decoupage That Wine Bottle!

Decoup-what? Yeah, it’s a fancy word. But it’s very similar to the papier mâché art, or collage art you’ve made in school. 

Decoupage means to create art by covering an item in colorful layers of paper. Some people use newspapers, magazines, and even scrapbooks. You could pick up a book of fancy printed paper and use that too! While it may take a little longer, and be a little more tedious, decoupage is a beautiful way to create decor without breaking the bank! 

With a little bit of coordination, and some patience, you could gift Mom a full set of these beautifully covered wine bottles. Think of all the possibilities! 

  • Make lots of small prints of some favourite photos of you and Mom, and use that to decoupage your bottle.
  • Use Mom’s favourite flowers, and press them until dry, and use those along with some paper to cover the bottle. 
  • Create a set that goes with Mom’s interior, so she can display them around the house, the possibilities are endless. 

The best part is you don’t even have to cut the bottle 🙂 

You’ll need:

  • A wine bottle (or bottles)
  • Some Mod Podge 
  • A brush
  • Some paper (or your choice of medium)
  • Decor such as 
    • Foil
    • Dry flowers
    • Twine

What to do:

Step 1:

Start off by rinsing the bottle and drying it out the best you can. Now lay out your medium and if you want a certain layout, figure that out now.

We chose to paint the inside of the bottle, if you will too, follow along! Start by pouring the paint into the wine bottle first.

Rotate the wine bottle, so that it is fully covered with paint inside.

Tip your wine bottle upside down to drain the remaining paint.

Step 2:

Next grab your mod podge and start by covering a third of the bottle from the bottom, and start layering your paper of choice.

Lay your paper, and work your way up, only placing adhesive where you will be covering to avoid the adhesive drying before you cover it with your paper.

Step 3:

Keep working up the bottle until you are satisfied with the way it looks. There really are no rules to this, so feel free to go back in and reapply pieces and cover the bottle to your heart’s content. Just remember to layer mod podge between the paper and bottle.

Step 4:

Once you like how it looks, it’s time to decorate! Use the dried flowers, or foil, or even twine, to add an artistic touch to the wine bottle. Add one more layer of mod podge covering the entire bottle to seal in your artwork. 

You’re done! If you want, you can also cover the whole bottle with some clear varnish to protect it from the elements and use it as porch decor too! 

There you go. Three easy craft ideas to get you started for Mother’s Day! In fact, you could also take these ideas, and craft these together with Mom. Looking for ways to use up the bottom halves of your wine bottles? We’ve got 3 more ways you can craft a beautiful gift for Mom by upcycling your wine bottles! 

If you’re looking for something extra to go with your creations, pick a wine gift by Winecollective this year! After all, Mom’s going to need bottles to work with if she plans on crafting too. 

Mom will get her first box in mid-June, but we’ll give you a printable letter to give to Mom on Mother’s Day along with her craft gift! 

Mother’s Day gift recipients receive:

  • 3 bottles of wine (all red, all white, or mixed)
  • A monthly wine guide including tasting notes, food pairings, and more
  • Access to special member pricing in our online store
  • Sustainable shipping products that are compostable in most Canadian locations
  • 3 Specially curated recipes for Mom in her first box! 

Gift Mom A Wine Education! 

WineCollective is a great Mother’s Day gift idea because you are not just providing Mom with wine to enjoy. She will learn about wine from her favorite wine regions, and some that she hasn’t explored yet! 

Now is the perfect time to give Mom the best wine experience possible! It’s just what she deserves. 

Mother’s Day Craft Ideas: Cutting a Wine Bottle

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about securing your place as the favourite son or daughter of the house. What better way to do that than to put together some gifts for Mom, made from the heart? And as the sneaky wine lover in the house, we challenge you to find a better way to reuse your bottles than to upcycle them for Mom!

Create personal gifts that are from the heart and show Mom you care. Or even better, grab a wine gift for Mom from WineCollective, and you can make these crafts with Mom later! Before you run to look for all those empty wine bottles you stored in your garage, you’re going to need to learn how to cut them in half. Let’s go!

There’s more than one way to cut a wine bottle. While bottle cutting may seem or sound complicated, it just requires some dedication, caution (it is glass after all) and a whole lot of enthusiasm! We’ll teach you two ways of cutting a bottle in half, and you can use the method you prefer to kick off the crafts we have in store for you (more on that later…)

How To Cut A Wine Bottle With String And Fire?

This one’s pure physics, but requires just a few items that you probably already have at home!

You’ll need:

  • A pair of safety gloves
  • A pair of safety glasses
  • String or twine (the thicker, the better)
  • Acetone (or rubbing alcohol)
  • A wine bottle
  • A pair of scissors
  • Sand paper
  • A lighter
  • A tub large enough to submerge your bottle into

What to do:

Step 1:

Ready to start? Fill a tub to the top with ice water. You can add some salt to the ice water to further lower the temperature of the water. The idea behind this method is that the difference in temperatures you expose the wine bottle to, will cause a thermal shock, thus splitting the bottle along the twine.

A sink filled with ice water to split the wine bottle in

Step 2:

Once the tub is ready, take the twine, and wrap it around the bottle. Try to wrap it where you would like the bottle to split. Wrap it around the bottle 4 to 5 times to create a thick ring of twine.

Tying the twine around the wine bottle multiple times to create a thick string.

Tie it snug, and knot it. Now slip the twine off, and soak the twine in the flammable substance (acetone or rubbing alcohol) for 5 to 10 seconds. Or use a dropper bottle to apply acetone or rubbing alcohol directly onto the twine.

Using a dropper to add acetone to the twine

Step 3:

Now carefully slip it back onto the bottle. Hold the wine bottle in one hand by its bottom, and use your other hand to light the twine on fire. Rotate the bottle on its side, slowly turning so that the whole circumference of the bottle in contact with the twine is evenly heated.

Lighting the string on fire

Step 4:

Wait for the fire to go out on its own while you rotate the bottle then dunk it straight into the cold water.

Rotating the wine bottle slowly as the fire heats the area covered in twine

You should hear a crack or snap, as the pressure difference causes the bottle to split into two.
If this didn’t happen, you might want to try making your water colder, by adding more ice and salt, or by lighting the twine up for longer.

The wine bottle separated in the cold ice bath

Step 5:

Once split, place your sandpaper on the table, face the freshly cut lip of the glass bottle against your sandpaper, and rub the lip against the paper until smooth.

Sanding the lip of the wine bottle half so that it is smooth

Voila! Use the two newly separated bottle halves as you see fit, or keep scrolling to try out the ideas we have for you and Mom!

Since wine bottles are all made differently, you may have to repeat these steps before your bottle splits. This method is also not perfect, so you may find your bottle splitting where you did not intend it to from time to time.

If you’re looking to make your bottle halves even more perfect, keep reading!

How To Use A Wine Bottle Cutter?

If you’re looking to make more precise cuts and have fewer bottles to work with this may be the best option.

You’ll need:

  • A pair of safety gloves
  • A pair of safety glasses
  • A bottle cutter
  • A wine bottle
  • Two tubs large enough submerge your wine bottle in*

*You can use one tub to place the bottle in, and use a mason jar of cold water along with a kettle of hot water to pour over the bottle instead.

There are many bottle cutters to choose from, and you can even pick one up from Amazon like this one!

What to do:

Step 1:

Set up your bottle cutter on a counter, and line up your bottle to where you would like to cut it. Some bottle cutters have a lever under the device to adjust the blade. This way you can cut the bottle as you please.

Step 2:

Once you are happy with where your blade will cut through, set up your tubs*. Fill the first one with very hot water, try to use boiling water, but be careful. The second tub should be filled with cold water, you can add some ice and salt to lower the temperature even more.

*We chose to use one tub to position our bottle into, and alternatively poured hot and cold water over the bottle.

Step 3:

Now position the wine bottle within the cutter so the blade is perpendicular to the bottle. Then grip the bottle tightly with both hands, and apply slow and steady pressure as you turn the bottle towards you. You should hear a crunching noise as the blade scores the glass. If not, you might have to reposition the bottle, or press against the blade harder.

Step 4:

As the blade scores the glass, you’ll see a line forming around the bottle, you want to meet these lines end to end. Do not rescore around the bottle again. You only need to do this once. The more you rescore, the more likely the bottle will crack.

Step 5:

Once you have scored your bottle, the process is quite similar to that of thermal shock.

Simply dip your bottle in the hot water for about 10-15 seconds, being sure to submerge the area you have scored. We poured hot and cold water alternatively over the score line.

Then pull the bottle out, and dunk it directly into the cold water for 10-15 seconds.

You should hear the bottle separate or pop in the water. If this doesn’t happen, just repeat the water process again, dipping it into the hot water for 10-15 seconds, and again in the cold.

This method will give you a more precise cut since it creates a weak part in the bottle by scoring it, but if scored too lightly, or unevenly, you might get some uneven cuts. Similar to the last method, sand the lips of the halves until smooth to prevent injury!

There you go!

Now that you know how to cut a wine bottle, you are ready to begin upcycling. There are many ideas out there on how to personalize your bottles. But if you’re looking for cute craft ideas to go with Mom’s wine gift, make her a self-watering planter! If she’s not into plants, make her a handmade candle instead! And if she’s not a fan of candles, that’s okay! Turn your bottle into a bird feeder instead!

At the end of the day, practice makes perfect, and the more bottles you cut, the better you’ll get. So remember all you need to do is be safe, and have fun with it.

Looking for the perfect wine gift to go with your beautiful crafts?

Give Mom A Wine Gift From WineCollective!

Mom will get her first box in mid-June, but we’ll give you a printable letter to give to Mom on Mother’s Day along with her craft gift!

Mother’s Day gift recipients receive:

  • 3 Bottles of wine (all red, all white, or mixed)
  • A monthly wine guide including tasting notes, food pairings, and more
  • Access to special member pricing in our online store
  • Sustainable shipping products that are compostable in most Canadian locations
  • For this year only, 3 specially curated recipes for Mom in her first box!

WineCollective is a great Mother’s Day gift idea because you are not just providing Mom with wine to enjoy. She will learn about wine from her favourite wine regions and some that she hasn’t explored yet! Now is the perfect time to give Mom the best wine experience possible and create an unforgettable experience!

How to Be Sustainable During the Holidays

Making Sustainable Choices

Many of us are working hard to make changes to be more environmentally conscious these days. This is especially important over the holidays as this is generally a time of greater consumption. There are plenty of improvements everyone can make to ensure less waste is being produced this holiday season. Even small changes to your holiday routines can make a big impact. These changes don’t have to be difficult to implement or affect your holiday traditions. Let’s create less stress by planning ahead with some easy changes and together learn how to be sustainable during the holidays.

Sustainable Gifting Options

Using materials you already own such as fabric, to gift wrap your presents for the Holiday.

One of the greatest sources of waste during the holidays is due to gifting. Rolls of wrapping paper only end up in the garbage or recycling centres, and are only functioning to make gifts look nice and add a layer of surprise. Certainly there are better ways we can gift during the holidays that doesn’t require so much paper! Luckily, there are plenty of options that make gifting more sustainable.

Wrap Gifts With Reusable Materials

Instead of stocking up on new rolls of wrapping paper, utilize materials you already own. This can include newspaper, packing paper, fabric pieces, scarves, reusable shopping bags, and more. Get creative and have fun finding new ways to wrap!

Gift experiences over things

It can be easy to over-gift during the holidays, which can result in lots of product waste. One way to avoid gifting things that may end up in a landfill later is to gift experiences. This often will include a gift card or printed material that you can give, without the waste of excessive wrapping. It’s also a very thoughtful gift to give someone a dinner to a restaurant they love or the opportunity to experience an event, trip, or excursion they’ve been wanting to do.

Gift Sharing

Gift sharing is great for many reasons. Having a few parties contribute to a gift means you can pool your money to gift something more substantial, and it means less physical items are needing to be wrapped and/or shipped. Gifting isn’t about the quantity, but the quality. So this is a great way to give something memorable that is also environmentally conscious.

WineCollective Sustainability

WineCollective has worked hard to implement sustainability measures, and use compostable pulp trays in our wine packages.

We’ve been hard at work at WineCollective to make our wine sharing as sustainable as we can. We ship our wines across the country, but have implemented many changes in our packaging, processes, and shipping practices. These changes have allowed us to make a huge impact on the waste we produce. We’re proud to say that gifting with WineCollective is a great way to give something special, while also being conscious about environmental impacts. Some of the ways we’ve done this includes:

  • Switching styrofoam inserts for compostable pulp trays
  • Choosing lowest impact shipping by using a variety of carriers
  • Shipping in recyclable boxes
  • Offering local pickup in the Calgary area to reduce shipping

Environmentally Friendly Gifting is Easy

Using fabric and other materials to have an environmentally friendly holiday season.

We can all make changes to our gifting this holiday season in order to decrease our environmental impact. Even the smallest change can snowball into larger movements. It is our goal at WineCollective to continue making improvements to our processes to ensure we’re doing all that we can to be sustainable, which in turn helps you! If you are wondering how to be sustainable during the holidays, we welcome you to check out the gifting options we have available. Happy holidays!

What is Organic Wine?

Alongside an increased focus on a smaller carbon footprint, many people today are on the lookout for healthier options for many of the products they consume. Amongst these products is wine, and as a result, organic wine’s popularity has soared. In fact, organic wine sales doubled from 349 million bottles in 2012 to a staggering 676 million bottles by the end of 2017. But what is organic wine? In this article, we’ll explore the organic phenomenon and what sets organic wines apart from other wines in the market.

What is “Certified Organic” Wine?

For wine to be labelled as "organic", only organic grapes are used with minimal natural preservatives and more.

Currently, there is no governing body on an international level that determines what makes a wine organic, so the rules and regulations are defined on a country-by-country basis. In the United States, for example, “Certified Organic” is a very specific term. Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic program, a product being “Certified 100% Organic” means that all the ingredients in that product were grown or raised according to the USDA’s organic standards.

In Canada, wines can be classified into 4 different categories, namely “Organic”, “100% Organic”, “Made with Organic Grapes”, and “Biodynamic”. Each of these categories has its own regulations, which we will compare and explore below. 

What Are The Requirements for Organic Wine in the USA?

The most important requirements for a wine to be certified organic in the USA include:

  • Only organic grapes can be used. 100 Percent of the grapes need to be grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or other synthetic chemicals.
  • Only minimal use of natural preservatives is allowed.
  • Genetically-modified organisms (found in some yeasts) can’t be present in the wine.
  • Flavouring agents and colours can’t be added to the wine.

U.S. organic winemakers are also not allowed to add sulphites (often used in winemaking as a preservative). In Europe and Canada however, a minimal amount of added sulphites is acceptable. Keep in mind that sulphites are a natural byproduct of the winemaking process, so a sulphite-free wine is impossible. These rules concern added sulphites, which are different from the naturally occurring ones found in all wines.

What about Organic Wine in Canada?

Canada has a few organic vineyards, which tend to be smaller boutique-style wineries that are certified in making organic wine. In Ontario, Southbrook Vineyards and Frogpond Farm are two examples of certified organic wineries. And while a vineyard might be certified organic, it doesn’t always mean that the attached winery is as well. Even though the grapes are grown in a completely organic manner, the practices used to create the wine might prevent the wine from being officially labelled as “organic.” 

Here are some terms to look for that can help you understand whether a Canadian wine is organic (and to what extent).

100% Organic Wines

This means that the wine is made from certified 100 percent organically grown grapes and does not contain added sulphites.

Organic Wines

Organic means that the wine is made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. These wines may have a low amount of added sulphites.

Wines Made with Organic Grapes

This refers to wines that are made with at least 70 percent organic grapes. The wine may also have added sulphites, though there are no official criteria regarding sulphites for this label.

Biodynamic Wines

Biodynamic farming refers to organic farming that does not use any synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides. The process is totally dependent on natural processes and minimal intervention. A vineyard that is biodynamic-certified usually exceeds the standards and regulations of organic certification.

Is Organic Wine Better?

A bundle of grapes that will be used in the process to create organic wine.

There’s a lot of debate on whether or not organic wine is better than “conventional” wine. Let’s look at some of the arguments. 

Is Organic Wine Healthier?

In terms of your health, organic is generally the better choice. Organic grapes produce more resilient skins, resulting in higher amounts of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation, and polyphenols, which in turn promote gut health. Organic grapes are also produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemicals, which can get into the water supply or leave residue on crops and have unintended negative health effects on people over time.

Does Organic Wine Taste Better?

When it comes to taste, the jury is still out. Many wine drinkers don’t think the quality of organic wine is there and actively avoid drinking them, while others rave about how much better organic wine tastes. Some wineries actively choose not to put an organic label on their wines or hide it on the back of the bottle for fear that being labelled organic would change the public’s perception of the wine’s quality.

It’s also worth mentioning that because they have fewer preservatives, organic wines tend to have a shorter shelf life and can turn into vinegar if they are kept too long. 

Why Choose Organic?

A lot of vineyards today follow industrial farming practices, including the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and intensive tilling and plowing that damages biological soil health. Pesticide runoff can damage water bodies and in turn surrounding cities and towns, and even harm workers who might be constantly working with said pesticides or within vineyards that heavily use them. For this reason, picking out wines that are grown organically or biodynamically can be a way of “voting with your dollar” and encouraging wine producers to prioritize responsible farming and practices that improve the quality of the soil. 

Choosing the Right Wine

A glass of red wine created from a variety of organic grapes.

Organic wines can be difficult to find, and you’ll have more success starting with wines from Spain, France, and Italy. 73 Percent of organic vineyards in the world are located in these three countries. By contrast, the U.S. only produces 2 percent of the world’s organic wines.

Pay close attention when reading labels and do your research! Wine companies often mention they follow “organic farming practices”, despite not being certified. There are more organic options than ever before, but you might need to do a little digging.

For U.S. wines, look for the USDA-seal or for the words “organically grown grapes.” Labels with the words “green”, “natural”, or ‘eco-friendly’ do not necessarily mean that they are organic.

If you’re looking for Canadian organic wine, then be on the lookout for labels featuring the words “Organic”, “100% Organic”, or “Made with Organic Grapes.”

We at WineCollective can also be a great resource for finding new wines, including organic offerings! We are always on the lookout for new exciting wines, and make sure to share our discoveries and rare finds with our members. Join us as we explore uncharted territories and discover wonderful grape varieties and unusual blends. 

Social Impact: Supporting Clean Water Initiatives

Partnering with Wine2Water

Through Wine2Water donations, they are able to create water systems that decrease travel to collect water for drinking, cleaning, bathing and more.

In 2021 we sought out a partnership that would have a great impact on people globally, as the world all went through the pandemic together. In searching for the right partnership, we learned about Canadian-based Acts for Water. One of their most notable programs caught our attention: Wine2Water. It wasn’t long before all of us at WineCollective were thrilled to make a donation to the Wine2Water program. Supporting clean water initiatives is well aligned with our ongoing social impact goals, and we’re excited to share more about this partnership.

How Wine2Water Works

Providing clean water to people facing water scarcity in East Africa.

Wine2Water has taken a complex issue – water scarcity in East Africa – and made it possible for wine businesses like WineCollective to bring water to the people. We chose to fund water for 10,000 people – all thanks to the support from our incredible members who trust us with their wine purchases every month. Wine2Water takes our donation and uses 100% of the money to fund their projects, including gravity flow water systems. These water systems allow:

  • Less travel for collecting water for drinking, cleaning, bathing, and more
  • Clean, trustworthy, consistent water supply
  • Long-term functionality from quality gravity flow systems
  • Equality, as women are 2x more likely to be the ones fetching water on long journeys

There are many reasons we chose to support Wine2Water and the above are just some of those reasons. We are proud to give a Canadian charity financial assistance to help the lives of so many Ugandan citizens.

WineCollective’s Social Impact

Single glass of red wine with vineyard and lake views blurred in the background

Since WineCollective first began back in 2009, it has been a priority for us to support local, national, and international charities. As we’ve grown over the years, this commitment has also grown with us. We are looking forward to many years of supporting causes small and large, just like Wine2Water. Without our members, this would not be possible. As you embark on your wine journey with us, we are very grateful you trust us to choose your wines and also invest in the future of people around the world.

All photos courtesy of

Shipping Wine – The Green Way

Shipping Wine in Canada

WineCollective has been shipping wine across Canada for over 10 years now. We know, we can hardly believe it either! Since the beginning it has been our goal to share the best wine the world has to offer, in monthly subscription boxes shipped right your door. No fuss, no hassle, and no unnecessary visits to the post office. Over time, many aspects of our business have evolved and grown, which inevitably means change. While we are always aiming to provide exceptional value to our customers, we are also constantly looking for ways in which we can improve. It became clear recently that we needed to take a closer look at the environmental impact of our packaging, so we started the long journey to make our shipping materials more green. And we are so excited to share that we have!

How to Ship Wine

cardboard shipping box with compostable pulp tray inside

The business of shipping wine across one of the largest countries in the world is no easy feat. Besides our huge size, Canada is also home to a climate that is pretty extreme. Both of these factors present challenges to shipping our fragile, temperature sensitive, and age-restricted cargo. All of these reasons are why, for so many years, we have chosen sturdy and reliable styrofoam inserts for shipping wine. Getting your bottles to your home or office in mint condition is always our priority.

Recyclable Shipping Materials

Red wine bottles laying in compostable pulp tray for shipping

After searching high and low, conducting months of practical tests, and switching couriers, we have finally found a new way to ship wine. We are so excited to say that our new shipping materials are:

  • Created from recycled materials
  • Contain pieces that are compostable or recyclable
  • Protect bottles from temperature changes and breakage

All of these new attributes are very important to us and to you! The pulp tray inserts in our new shipping packages are made of compostable material, however we do acknowledge that not all municipalities support composting them just yet. We encourage all WineCollective members to check with their local compost guidelines. In the event that you cannot compost the trays, they are 100% recyclable.

Green Shipping

Compostable pulp tray sitting on top of cardboard box

We’d like to thank all of our WineCollective members, old and new, for their feedback and support during our transition. We are lucky to have such dedicated members and we’re happy to finally offer green shipping solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Enjoy your next shipment or maybe it’s time to finally join us!

Let’s Go Green Together!