What Are Natural Wines?

Sep 1, 2023by Madi Lowry


Natural Wine: The Trendy Choice for Modern Wine Drinkers

Natural Wine San Diego

In recent years, natural wine has surged in popularity among wine enthusiasts. This trend isn't just about following the latest fad; it's rooted in a desire for authenticity and a return to traditional winemaking methods. Despite its growing popularity, there's no official definition or certification for natural wine. However, it generally refers to wine produced without pesticides or herbicides and with minimal to no additives.

What is Natural Wine?

Natural wine represents a return to the basics of winemaking. It's an approach that prioritizes minimal intervention and embraces the inherent characteristics of the grapes and their terroir. 

One common misconception is that natural wines completely eliminate the risk of hangovers. While some drinkers report fewer headaches, it's important to remember that moderation is key. Overindulgence in any type of wine, natural or not, can still lead to unpleasant after-effects. As always, staying hydrated is crucial when enjoying wine.

The Natural Winemaking Process

The production of natural wine is a testament to simplicity and tradition. Here's how it typically unfolds:

  1. Grapes are harvested without the use of synthetic pesticides.
  2. The grapes are then crushed to release their juice.
  3. Instead of adding commercial yeasts, winemakers allow the native yeasts present on the grape skins to initiate fermentation.
  4. Throughout the process, there is minimal intervention, allowing the wine to develop its unique characteristics naturally.

This approach stands in stark contrast to conventional winemaking, which often involves spraying pesticides to eliminate native yeasts, adding processed yeasts and sugar to kickstart fermentation, and using numerous additives. In fact, in the United States, winemakers can use up to 60 approved additives without disclosing them on the label.

The Natural Wine Spectrum

Natural wines offer a diverse range of flavors and styles, catering to various palates. On one end of the spectrum, you'll find smooth, easily drinkable wines, affectionately known as "glou glou" in the natural wine community. These wines are perfect for those just beginning to explore the world of natural wines.

On the other end, there are more complex, funky varieties. Some natural wines may present vinegary notes or appear cloudy, while others might remind you of kombucha with their unique flavor profiles. This diversity is part of what makes natural wine so exciting for enthusiasts.

A Note on Sulfites

It's worth mentioning that some natural winemakers do add minimal amounts of sulfites to their wines, primarily for preservation purposes. When used, the quantity is typically about ten times less than what you'd find in conventional wines. Importantly, if sulfites are added, this should be clearly indicated on the bottle.

Related Wine Categories

As you explore the world of natural wines, you may come across two related categories: biodynamic and organic wines.

Biodynamic farming takes a holistic, sustainable approach to agriculture. It uses organic, locally sourced materials for fertilizing and soil conditioning, views the vineyard as a closed, diversified ecosystem, and often follows lunar cycles for farming activities.

Organic wine, on the other hand, comes from grapes grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. These practices emphasize natural pest control and soil health, aligning closely with the principles of natural winemaking.

The Natural Wine Movement

The rise of natural wine reflects a broader trend towards cleaner, more transparent food and beverage production. It responds to consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable options while honoring traditional winemaking techniques.

As the natural wine movement continues to grow, it offers wine lovers a chance to explore unique flavors while supporting environmentally conscious production methods. Whether you're a curious newcomer or a seasoned wine enthusiast, natural wines provide an exciting avenue for discovery and enjoyment.

Natural Wines at Harvest Wine in San Diego

Ready to embark on your natural wine journey? Look no further than Harvest Wine in San Diego! We're proud to offer a curated selection of natural wines from around the world, catering to both newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts.

Our knowledgeable staff is passionate about natural wines and would be delighted to help you find the perfect bottle for your taste and occasion. Whether you're looking for a smooth "glou glou" or an adventurous, funky variety, we've got you covered.

Get in Touch

Have questions about natural wines or want to inquire about our selection? We'd love to hear from you! Reach out to us here.