Simply put, Natural wine is about taking as little from the grapes and adding as little to the wine making process as possible.
But in reality it is much more than that.
Natural wine recognises that not everything can be made in a petri dish. To capture the spirit of the vineyard and the flavour of the grape, one has to let go. Natural wine is the freedom to get it wrong, and the freedom to get it very right indeed. It relishes and embraces the contradictions and dangers inherent in not being in control.
We want people to drink without fear or favour, not worry about right & wrong, leave critical judgement on hold, & enjoy wine in its most naked form. - Les Caves de Pyrene
For me, Natural wine is about choosing wine that is produced in a more responsible manner. Doesn't matter if it is certified organic, biodynamic, or something else...it is drinking from producers who know how they treat the land they grow their grapes on matters. Because when you treat the farms better, the wine is naturally better. It just makes sense.
It's also about embracing the wildness of natural wine. Not worrying that each bottle tastes exactly like the last for the sake of brand building, and more money. It's enjoying the craft of making each vintage in that season, reflecting what was happening in that moment.
Natural wines tend to be made with as little sulphur as possible, in some cases none at all. The growers seek to use natural solutions in their farming practices (ie: chickens for pest control, natural fertilizers like manure, and with as little chemicals as possible). Grapes are more often than not harvested by hand. Yeasts are wild instead of laboratory grown.
You might be afraid of natural wine
Have you heard rumours that it all tastes like vinegar
or perhaps that all natural wine tastes the same?
Maybe you fear natural wines are all going to be rustic, salt of the earth, unelegant beasts.
EXPENSIVE- I can't afford to drink Natural wines.
I invite you to stop by the shop and have a sample. I can assure you there is a Natural Wine for whatever it is you are looking for. Elegant, funky, easy drinking, wild.
Natural wine isn't about being pretentious. It's about celebrating the hard work wine makers are putting in to make better wine that is better for the planet.
A broad list of what is NOT allowed in Natural Wine making
No added yeasts
No flash pasteurisation
No added colouring agents
No added tannins
No added tartaric acid
No added proteins
No added chemicals or substances to change the mouthfeel
No flavouring agents
No process of deacidification or dealcoholisation
No stabilising gums
No reserve osmosis
No chips, no staves
No strip filtering