If you think that natural wine is just another trendy fad, think again. A minimalist approach to winemaking is moving to the mainstream – though not without its misconceptions. However, when you explore the myths associated with natural wine, you find out the truth – that less really is more.
The terms natural, biodynamic and organic mean the same thing
While this is obviously some crossover between the styles, they aren’t interchangeable. Natural wine can include organic and/or biodynamic methods and follows a beautiful philosophy of minimal intervention in the vineyard or in the cellar – this includes using naturally occurring yeast. Currently, wineries can either practice or be certified as organic or biodynamic; but there isn’t an accepted definition of natural wine. Biodynamic wine does encompass organic farming techniques as well as an approach to winemaking that views the earth as a living organism and actually uses a lunar calendar for planting, pruning and harvesting. Organic wine is made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
Herbicides, pesticides and sulphites are necessary for winemaking
Whilst it is definitely more challenging to grow grapes without chemicals, it can be done. Organic and biodynamic farming actually ‘bring life to the soil’, instead of killing the microbial diversity of the soil with the nasty chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.
Biodynamic practices are just a bunch of new age nonsense
Biodynamics strive towards the balance and harmony of the earth; by following biodynamic practices we are actually helping the ecosystem instead of damaging it. If you think of winemaking as the human body; eating wholesome nutritious food and breathing clean air helps us to lead healthy lives – this is the same from biodynamic winemaking, giving the grapes a healthier life will make them better for the wine.
Natural wines don’t age well
Breaking news – the vast majority of wines produced in the world are meant to be consumed within a couple of years. Age-worthy wines, no matter how they have been produced, generally have high acidity and tannins, which act as preservatives. Anyone thinking that natural wines don’t age well simply haven’t tried older natural wine; they age well.
Natural wine is just a fad
Natural wine has been around for thousands of years, since the first thirsty people decided that crushing grapes and mixing them with yeast was a good idea. This grassroots movement among true wine enthusiasts will only continue to grow in popularity. Just as organic produce and whole foods have become an integral part of our permanent culinary dictionary, natural wine is here to stay.
Natural wines taste a bit funky
This myth isn’t necessarily false; natural wines have a broader range of acceptable flavours. Just like some sour tasting beers might not be to your taste, other may be simply mouth-watering. There will be a natural wine out there just waiting for you that will pique your palette.
Natural wines are here to stay, with the growing movement of wine aficionados choosing natural; embracing the natural winemaking process in all its glory.