Probably one of the most debated topics of the last few years
But what is it?
It's hard to give a clear answer, mainly because there are no real definitions for natural wine. It's not regulated and it's not defined; in fact some of the winemakers who make natural wines love it this way! So how on earth do you get a clear picture of what makes a wine natural?
We think that the simplest way to define natural wine is to say it is wine made with nothing added and nothing taken away.
Let's break that down.
Nothing at all is being added to the wine. So it is simply grapes and their constituent parts. Some of the additions that are common (that natural winemakers do not add) are; on the vineyard -copper and sulphur and other preventative chemicals like weedkillers. In the winery - yeast, acid, tannin, sulphur.
Nothing is being taken away. It is the fermented grape juice in its natural form. Some examples of where parts are removed from the wine are filtering, fining or reverse osmosis.
It's worth noting that not all unfiltered or organic or unusual wines are natural. Just because the wine is hazy or is made from organic grapes, doesn't mean that everything is done naturally. It really needs all the conditions to be met.
What does natural wine mean?
In the world of wine, where everything has a rule, natural wine is the odd one out, as it is unregulated and undefined. However it's commonly accepted that natural wine must be made from grapes grown organically, picked by hand, fermented with native yeasts and bottled without filtration and with no (or very little) preservatives.
Why are natural wines more expensive?
As an artisan, hand-made product, natural wines typically cost more. This is essentially down to a preference for doing things by hand as opposed to mechanically, so each step of the winemaking process takes longer, and costs more.
Does natural wine give you a hangover?
Sadly, yes, if you drink enough of it. Any alcoholic beverage, in sufficient quantity, will induce dehydration and the typical effects of a hangover. The lack of preservatives might help a little, but the alcohol will get you.
What is the difference between natural wine and organic wine?
Organic wine is only made fromorganically grown grapes, therefore in the winery these can be filtered and canhave preservatives added, whereas natural winemakers will choose to avoid bothof these.
How do you make natural wine?
The clue is in the name - it is meant to be as simple a process as possible, as natural as possible, with no artificial or mechanical intervention. Do everything by hand and try to avoid manipulation.