What is Natural Wine?
Natural Wine, Explained!
This last decade has seen a big rise, or come back, in the interest of Natural Wines. More and more people are getting hooked by delicious tasting and awesome coloured wines, experiencing something they never had with conventional wines.
They have been called with various names: low-intervention wines, naked wines, raw wines, but they mostly go under the term of Natural Wines.
What are Natural Wines exactly?
Long story short, it is "just" fermented grape juice!
Why "Just"? Because in Conventional Wines a lot of stuff can be added, or taken away. While Natural Wines are, pretty much, just fermented grape juice.
There are not regulations, rules or certificate that say that a wine is natural.
Natural wine-making is driven by great passion for wine, love for the land and the nature, ethical approach to agriculture and to life in general.
Let's fully understand all the differences that makes a wine "natural".
In the vineyard the grapes are grown naturally, whatever if organic, biodynamic or other. It doesn't mean that they need necessarily a certification, but they are growth without any use of pesticide or herbicide.
This is an essential step in a world where chemical farming is adversely affecting the environment, the climate and human health. An organic viticulture is necessary to get an healthy Natural Wine.
This approach normally creates a natural echosystem where other plants and trees live together with vines, helping each others against fungis, insects, etc.
Most of the works on the vine are made by hand, from pruning to picking, preventing stress on the vines, and also be able to have good care for each plant and grape.
Once the grapes are picked they need to ferment to became wine.
Having healthy grapes is the key to a good wine.
While most of the Conventional Wines use selected yeast to make the fermentation process, Natural Wines are made by spontaneous fermentation, by yeasts that are naturally found on the grape itself.
The fermentation process happens without temperature control.
After the fermentation and the ageing process the Natural Wine is bottled without any filtration, clarification nor stabilisation.
During the vinification process in the Conventional Wines, many things can be used from ph regolator, to enzymes, various acids etc. while none of this is used during the vinification of a Natural Wine.
The only thing that is allowed to be added in a Natural Wine is SO2, in very low quantity, although there are plenty of wine makers who work without addition of SO2.
With such a low intervention by humans Natural Wines are undeniably a great expression of terroir. All the wines present a unique profile, that embody the place they come from, and the vision of the winemaker.
Drinking Natural Wine means protecting small realities, small producers and their fruits and protecting the unicity they represent from aggressive industrial colonisation.
Often we heard people saying that: "Natural Wine taste different!", while the focus should be on "Why market wine taste all the same?".
We look from wines that are expressive rather than correct, we look for wines that taste alive!
- Organic or Biodynamic Farming
- Hand crafted
- Spontaneous Fermentation
- No Chemicals
- No FIltration
- No SO2 or very small amount
For more researches check out:
- Alice Feirling, Journalist and Author of several books about Natural Wine
- Isabelle Legeron, RAW Wine creator, Author of "Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally"
- Natural Resistance, Documentary film about Natural Wine in Italy made by Jonathan Nossiter. Casting: Elena Pantaleoni (La Stoppa), Stefano Bellotti (Cascina degli Ulivi) Giovanna Tiezzi (Pacina) and more.
- Amber Revolution, book about Orange Wine by Simon J Wolf.
- Pipette, independent, printed magazine about natural wines.
- Raisins, app to find restaurants, retailers, winegrowers and fair about Natural Wine.
- Noble Rot: Wine bar, magazine, book and all the many things about wine.