Natural Wines

by Ms. S on July 22, 2010

This section contains notes from our due diligence on this topic.

A natural wine is the product of the purest form of wine making.  It is wine made with as little chemical and technological intervention as possible, either in the way the grapes are grown or the way they are made into wine.  Natural wines do not have a certification but rather they represent a philosophy of winemaking.  Natural winemakers start with clean grapes (organic/biodynamic) and try to see how little can be done to turn the grapes into wine.  This philosophy believes that the grapes should express themselves in wine which is evidence of just how important grape production is to produce delicious natural wines.

Natural wines are produced in small quantities, by independent producers in low-yield vineyards.  The grapes are hand-picked and the wine is made without sugars or laboratory yeast.  Traditional wine making methods such as acidifying and mirco-oxygentation are abstained and most natural wines are unfiltered and unrefined.

While the production of natural wines is special and rare, there are a few disadvantages of natural wines.  There is a lack of consistency of natural wines. Each vintage is different and the risks of spoilage are greater.  Also, because producing natural wines is such a labor intensive, delicate process, they are unable to be mass produced which limits their availability.  Finally, storing natural wines can be demanding due to the presence of “living” material in the bottle.  Natural wines are extremely sensitive to temperature which means shipping and storage of the wines must be done in a carefully controlled environment.

Natural wines appear to be the safest type of wine to drink in order to avoid pesticides and other toxins.  Since natural wines lack a formal certification it is important to contact vineyards directly about their wine-making methods if you are especially concerned about pesticides in your wine.

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