Understanding Natural Wines can be confusing and sometimes difficult. The first time you drink Natural Wine, it might put you off and be a little hard on the nose. Some natural wines such as Rose might even be darker than usual, a little cloudy, sometimes a bit fizzy, with clumps of yeast floating around the wine. They are definitely an acquired taste so be prepared.
Natural wine is wine made without chemical and minimum technological intervention in growing grapes and making them into wine. The term is used to distinguish such wine from organic wine and biodynamic wine because of differences in cellar practices. All natural wines are, however, farmed organically at a minimum and many growers are biodynamic in the vineyard as well.
Strictly speaking, natural wines are wines that are produced without adding or removing anything during winemaking, although some growers add tiny quantities of sulphites at bottling, so that strictly speaking their wines are not natural wines, but ‘only’ organic (and possibly biodynamic).
Organic wine is organic in the sense of having been produced from organically grown grapes, but may be subject to chemical and physical manipulation in the winemaking process.
The following basic criteria are generally accepted by most natural wine producers and organizations:
• Organically or biodynamically grown grapes, with or without certification.
• Dry-farmed, low-yielding vineyards.
• No added sugars, no foreign yeasts, no foreign bacteria.
• No adjustments for acidity.
• No additives for color, mouth-feel, minerality, etc.
• No external flavor additives, including those derived from new oak barrels, staves, chips, or liquid extract.
• Minimal or no fining or filtration.
• No heavy manipulation, such as micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, spinning cone, cryoextraction.
• Minimal or no added sulphites aka sulfites.