What Are Natural Wines

Have you ever heard of natural wines? If not, you’re in for a treat! Natural wines have become a hot topic in the wine world in recent years, and for good reason. As a wine …

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Have you ever heard of natural wines? If not, you’re in for a treat! Natural wines have become a hot topic in the wine world in recent years, and for good reason. As a wine enthusiast myself, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and appreciate the unique qualities of natural wines.

So, what exactly are natural wines? In a nutshell, natural wines are made with minimal intervention, allowing the grapes to express themselves fully. This means that the winemaker takes a hands-off approach and lets nature take its course. No chemicals, additives, or fancy techniques are used in the winemaking process.

One of the key principles of natural winemaking is organic farming. This means that the grapes are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Instead, natural methods are employed to maintain the health and vitality of the vineyard. This not only benefits the environment but also allows the grapes to develop their unique flavors.

Another important aspect of natural winemaking is the use of native yeasts. Unlike commercial yeasts, which are specifically cultured for consistency, natural wines rely on the indigenous yeasts present in the vineyard. This adds complexity and a sense of place to the final product, as each vineyard has its own distinct microbial population.

When it comes to fermentation, natural winemakers prefer to let the process happen spontaneously. There is no addition of sulfur dioxide, a common preservative used in conventional winemaking. This can result in wines that are alive and vibrant, with a certain liveliness on the palate.

But it’s not just the winemaking process that sets natural wines apart. The philosophy behind natural winemaking extends to the vineyard as well. Many natural winemakers practice biodynamics, a holistic approach to agriculture that takes into account the interconnectedness of plants, animals, and the environment. This can involve practices such as planting cover crops, using compost, and even incorporating astrology into planting and harvesting decisions.

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Now, you may be wondering, how do natural wines taste? Well, the flavor profiles of natural wines can vary greatly depending on the grape variety, terroir, and the winemaker’s style. Some natural wines showcase bright and vibrant fruit flavors, while others may have a funky and earthy character. It’s all part of the charm and excitement of exploring natural wines.

It’s important to note that natural wines are not for everyone. They can be unpredictable, and some may find them challenging or even flawed. But for those of us who appreciate the beauty of imperfection and the diversity of flavors, natural wines offer a truly unique and intriguing drinking experience.

In conclusion, natural wines are a fascinating category of wine that allows us to connect with nature and taste the true essence of the vineyard. From the hands-off winemaking approach to the use of native yeasts and organic farming practices, natural wines represent a philosophy and a way of life. So, next time you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, why not give a natural wine a try?

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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