Turning grape juice into wine can be a simple and traditional process. But in a world where huge machines and technology now play a major role, natural winemaking feels like a journey to yesteryear.
Raw wine and naked wine are just some of the names associated with natural wine. It is best summed up as a no-fuss, small scale and traditional process of winemaking to produce a product that is fermented grape juice in its purest form. Natural wine could be seen as a bit of a rebellion, going back to a simpler way of doing things, where less is more.
Since there is no legal definition for natural wine, a wine producer can label their wine with some liberty. Let’s explore what natural wine is all about before you decide to ditch your usual glass of vino in search of what might be perceived to be a healthier and better choice.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is Natural Wine?
- Where Is Natural Wine From?
- How Is Natural Wine Made?
- What’s The Difference Between Natural Wine And Regular Wine?
- Is Natural Wine The Same As Organic Or Biodynamic Wine?
- What Does Natural Wine Taste Like?
- Is Natural Wine Sweet?
- How Long Do Natural Wines Last?
- Is Natural Wine Healthy?
- Is Natural Wine Really Better?
- Is Natural Wine Expensive?
What Is Natural Wine?
The thing with natural wine is that it’s not regulated or certified, which makes it hard to describe. Essentially, it’s the kind of wine where nothing is added, and nothing is taken away from it.
The recipe requires organic grapes, no pesticides and no additives. There might be a small dose of sulphites, leftover from fermentation and used as a preservative. All wine does naturally contain sulphites but regular wine has much more added.
The winemaking process also sets it apart. Traditional winemaking includes fining and filtering, but natural winemakers work with what they’ve got.
Where Is Natural Wine From?
Natural wine is produced in most winemaking regions across the world. France’s Loire Valley is said to be the place where this style of wine originated. There is a global trend towards a ‘green’ lifestyle which has seen more small-scale and independent natural winemakers pop up globally. Although it is produced the world over, it only accounts for about 1% of total wine production.
How Is Natural Wine Made?
Natural wine is essentially fermented grape juice with nothing else. It is made from grapes not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Grapes are hand-picked and fermented with natural yeast. There is also far less intervention from the winemaker. The wine is not filtered which is why natural wine sometimes has a lot of sediment in the bottle. It is bottled as is meaning there might also be some fizziness when opened.
What’s The Difference Between Natural Wine And Regular Wine?
Natural wines contain little sulphur, which is a main ingredient in traditional wines. It’s used because it kills bacteria, prevents oxidation and preserves the wine. Winemakers like to add a little extra to get good results. Natural wines use no additional sulphur. This means flavour and quality can vary between bottles. This makes each bottle truly unique.
Is Natural Wine The Same As Organic Or Biodynamic Wine?
Organic wine can have any of the additives found in regular wine, as long as they’re organic. Biodynamic wine is defined by farming, not winemaking. The certification for biodynamic wine means certain rules are followed in the winemaking process and the wine could be mostly natural. Some biodynamic wine is just regular wine made with biodynamic grapes.
What Does Natural Wine Taste Like?
Natural wine is sometimes known for sour aromas and flavours similar to cider. Natural wine has a slower fermentation process, like cider. The longer a wine ferments, the more it’s exposed to oxygen, and this creates a cider smell and taste. There’s a greater range of flavour and aroma found in natural wines, depending on the winemaker and grapes.
Is Natural Wine Sweet?
Natural wine has a distinct taste, with a wide range of notes and complex natural flavours. The nose of the wine has great depth and interest. The aromas of the wine might seem strange, but they go well with the taste. You’ll also notice a cloudiness in the appearance of the wine.
How Long Do Natural Wines Last?
Most people think that natural wines need to be drunk quickly after bottling or they’ll go bad. They have no preservatives after all. The great news is that natural wines can be kept as long as 12 years or more and be exceptional. If the wine is made well and to be aged, it can rest just like a traditional red or white wine.
Is Natural Wine Healthy?
The big question everyone wants answered is, is natural wine healthy? It’s hard to quantify this as it is still alcohol so you would enjoy it in moderation like any wine.
Natural, organic or biodynamic wines could be considered better if you want to avoid pesticides. While natural wine is made with organic grapes, there’s no certification.
Is Natural Wine Really Better?
You’re still going to get a hangover if you drink too much wine – natural or not. If we’re talking about what makes natural wine better, you would need to think about how traditional wine is made. It includes loads of chemicals and more than 300 potential additives. Then you have the herbicides and pesticides used to treat the grapes as they’re growing on the vine. If you want to enjoy a wine as nature intended, with the least amount of intervention, then natural wine is for you.
With a natural wine, the most you’re going to get is a small amount of sulphites. Some natural wine drinkers say they have less of a headache and groggy feeling in the morning. This will differ from person to person, depending on how much wine you’ve had and if it was paired with anything else. There is also some scientific evidence that suggests sulphites make it more difficult for the liver to process alcohol. Natural wine equals fewer sulphites which could mean it’s a bit easier on the liver.
Is Natural Wine Expensive?
Natural wine is more expensive than a traditional bottle of wine. This comes down to the difference in time and money of a mass-produced wine compared to a natural wine which involves hand picking and pruning, and goes through a labour-intensive process. However, if you want to go the au naturel route, it’s well worth paying for!