Natural Wines

Sep 1, 2023by Madi Lowry

by Madison Lowry

In recent years, natural wine has become a lot more trendy among wine drinkers and the amount of natural wine being produced has significantly increased. Despite it being trendy, most natural wine drinkers are in it for health reasons or to drink wines that were made in the way winemaking began. There is no real definition or certification of what natural wine is, but it is usually wine that is produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides and has few to no additives.

Many wine drinkers have switched to natural wines to avoid headaches the next day which can come from the additives in other wines. While this may be true on a small scale….if you drink a whole bottle of natural wine, you’ll likely still end up with a hangover and pounding head the next morning. Friendly reminder that you should throw a few glasses of water in there if you’re planning on taking down a whole bottle yourself! However, the extreme use of additives in some non-natural wines would definitely have negative side effects for the drinker so this reason for drinking natural wines is valid.

So how is natural wine made? Natural wine makers simply crush grapes and allow the native yeast that sits on the skins of the grapes to activate and begin a natural fermentation process. Some non-natural winemakers will spray pesticides on the grapes to remove these native yeasts, and later add processed yeast and sugar to get the fermentation process started. While we’re on the topic of additives, there are more than 60 approved additives that American winemakers are allowed to use in their winemaking without indicating so on the bottle.

Some natural wine makers will add some sulfites to preserve the wine enough that it is shelf stable and tastes the same to you as it did when it was put in the bottle. If used, it is a very small amount added right before bottling (10x less than some conventional wines). This should be indicated on the bottle if it is used!

There is a wide range of natural wines from chuggable, smooth wines to more funky, vinegary, cloudy looking wines. On the funkier side, you may try a wine that has similar tasting notes to kombucha. There is a term in the natural wine world, glou glou, which indicates the chuggable-ness of the wine! These wines are a great introduction to natural wines if you are just getting started out.

The bottom line is, when drinking natural wine you can be sure that there are little to no synthetic substances or chemicals in the wine you are drinking. This is huge!! Especially in America, where food and beverage production has become so un-natural…

Two other terms you may find when shopping for cleaner, natural wines are Biodynamic and Organic. Here are the definitions of both so you know what you are getting in these wines.

Biodynamic farming: a system of farming that follows a sustainable, holistic approach which uses only organic, usually locally sourced materials for fertilizing and soil conditioning, views the farm as a closed, diversified ecosystem, and often based farming activities on lunar cycles

Organic farming: no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used in farming

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