What is Natural Wine?

by KWM Staff

In the last few years, we have seen an astonishing resurgence of a certain contention in wine Doctrine. Feisty millennials and thirsty enthusiasts alike are ferociously curious with the moniker ”Natural Wine“. The “natural” approach to wine is a thorny concept to define. These wines have become extremely popular with the younger generation of wine professionals and enthusiasts. Many have skipped “classic” styles and have curiously dived straight into the story of Natural Wine.

Natural Wine, both in concept and in practice, have unlimited dispositions, and so giving clarity to their characters in simple or painless explanation is reasonably difficult.

However, while natural winemakers can share differing styles and philosophies, their convictions are cut from the same cloth…

The basic scope of Natural Wine creation falls under Biodynamics.

In a nutshell, Biodynamics is a combination of both biological and dynamic agriculture practices. Biological practices include a series of well-known organic farming techniques that improve soil and plant health. Dynamic practices are intended to influence biological as well as metaphysical aspects of the farm (such as increasing vital life force) or to adopt the farm to natural rhythms (such as planting seeds during certain lunar phases).
The alcohol content is usually much lower than “conventional wines”. Many use natural yeasts. The yeasts are local to the vineyard area and can help transmit a sense of place to the wine in a strict, literal sense.

Polycultural Farming is indispensable and nurturing. Polyculture is the planting of innumerable different plants in the same place to increase the biodiversity on the farm or vineyard area. Polyculture encourages beneficial insects (such as ladybugs and bees) to become part of a holistic ecosystem.

Many wine farms also initiate there own composting. The composting of winery waste is an alternative to the traditional disposal of residues, and also involves a commitment to reducing the production of waste products. Compost had a high agronomic value and is particularly suitable for the soils of the vineyards which have a very low organic matter content

A distinguishing feature of biodynamic farming is the use of nine biodynamic preparations described by Rudolph Steiner for the purpose of enhancing soil quality and stimulating plant life. They consist of mineral, plant, or animal manure extracts, usually fermented and applied in small proportions to compost, manures, the soil, or directly onto plants, after dilution and stirring procedures called dynamization.

There are strong convictions and dogmas in the Natural Wine scene. Like all styles of wine – Natural wine runs the gamut when it comes to quality. Vintages and even different wines from the same producer and the same vintage can vary tremendously. Many are very special and others can be quite unpleasant (some can be noticeably faulted). It can make selecting your next Natural Wine a daunting task. But that is where we come in!

Come down to our shop and ask our wine staff about our current Natural Wine selections. You can also browse our stock of Natural Wine on our website.

Looking for more background on Natural Wine? Here are a few other sources to check out:

Wikipedia article link

Jamie Goode breaks down natural wine

Wine Folly’s What Really Is Natural Wine?

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