VNO's Beginner Guide to Natural Wine
We are a “Natural Wine Club” but I’m sure a lot of you have wondered what that actually means. The word “natural” has become an important word that people have been gravitating to when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and grocery store staples. The average consumers’ standards are becoming increasingly higher for foods that they allow to be put into their bodies, but why don’t they have those same standards for wine? The modern wine can have up to almost 200 additives in it… talk about YUCK! Additives such as egg whites, sulfites, fish or pig derivatives, and foreign yeast are thrown into the wine in order to silence the wines individuality. By using additives, colorants, and flavoring, modern winemakers are promised more consistency, better drinkability, and a lower risk of error. In exchange those wines are losing what it means to actually be wine.
Let’s start by defining what natural wine really is. Natural wine is about getting back to the basics of the plain old fermentation of grape juice. Natural wines are living wines, they are real wines, and they are classic. This type of wine isn’t just a label but a process, and a lifestyle that defines it. Starting with grapes, and ending with you, and only a couple of simple steps in between.
Here are the rules of natural wine:
- The grapes must be grown AND farmed organically and/or biodynamically. That means no pesticides, no additives, no nothing!
- The grapes must be handpicked. Wine is better the old fashioned way.
- The vines are dry farmed. These vines get their water from natural rainfall.
- A small amount or no filtering, and a small amount or no sulfites. Avoid filtering, and sulfites as much as possible because the wine should be as real as it gets.
- Absolutely NO chaptalization! Everybody has their flaws, and nobody’s perfect even wines!
- Last but not least respect the grapes, respect the wine, and respect the process. Wine is wine because of the grapes so give them the love and attention they deserve.
Natural wines also have many health benefits that you didn’t think you could get from a wine. These wines have a diverse variety of polyphenols or better known as the antioxidants found in wine. These polyphenols found in natural wines can lower inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and much more. Since natural wines are a living product they also have many benefits for your gut microbiome since natural wines contain probiotic bacteria. Best of all… NO HANGOVER! The brain fog, headaches, and other negative effects you get from drinking too much wine is from the additives, not the wine itself.
Now onto the part everyone’s been waiting for… How does it taste? Natural wine differs from conventional wine because it tastes as real as it is. Since natural wines are unprocessed, and right off the vine, they taste more lively and true to the grape. You can taste the nutrient rich soil the grapes come from giving the wine a mineraly note. Natural reds are rich, and decadent while the whites are bright, and fresh. The best way to understand natural wine is by popping open a bottle, and giving it a try. Cheers!