BIO SANS PAPIERS or ‘BSP, term used by French wine-growers which translates as ‘organic or biodynamic without any official documentation’. Growers who eschew certification defend their decision in two ways. The first relates to the cost. They cite the bureaucracy of spotless record-keeping, the need to be present during on-site inspections, the need to re-design wine labels if they want to flaunt their organic credentials, plus the fees levied by certification bodies (normally a flat fee plus a levy on the value of every bottle sold). Their second argument holds that the rules for both organics and Biodynamics are far too lax and “anyway we go beyond organics, biodynamics.”

Some of the producers in the amorphous BSP category are exemplary wine-growers and winemakers, who put more effort into organics and Biodynamics than some of the their certified peers do, have (in some cases) been doing it for longer and before it became fashionable, and justifiably bridle at having to do the paperwork to satisfy only minimum certification criteria when they not only satisfy but easily surpass this.

Others BSP-ers however are opportunists who expect to be congratulated for taking a cavalier approach to both the spirit and letter of the organic rule book, as if rebellion alone was the defining badge not only of honour, but of quality too.

On a practical level, the discipline of good record-keeping that certification demands can allow some farmers to gain a more precise idea of exactly how the annual farming and winemaking budget is being spent and where it may be improved and made more efficient both in terms of cost but environmentally. In addition, wines with organic & Biodynamic certification are now being prioritised over those that don’t by powerful trade buyers, eg. by government-backed alcohol monopolies in Scandinavia for example, as well as by privately-owned retailers such as the European budget chains LIDL and ALDI. This is partly because organics in general is gaining more traction with consumers, and partly because labels with any sort of eco-positive-sounding certification – organic, natural, sustainable, free range, dolphin-friendly – are too.