What is natural wine?

Surely you've heard of natural wines lately, but do you know what they are?

Natural wines, are wines that have no added inputs (most often sulphites) during their winemaking process. These are atypical wines that have surprising organoleptic properties that we are not used to having with conventional wines. For example, it might be difficult to recognize a natural Chasselas by taste because this delicate grape will develop an aromatic range and complexity in the mouth that are different from a classic Chasselas. The fact that the winegrowers are now developing ranges of natural wines denotes a need to return to ancestral oenological practices. This older, more demanding and risky method of winemaking makes it possible to express in concert the essence of a grape variety, its terroir as well as its vintage, which will have a definite influence over the wine from one year to the next.

Is natural wine a new fad on the market?

We can sometimes think that natural wine is a fad that will pass. However, this is not a new winemaking process. It dates back more than a century, between 1903 and 1907 in Languedoc in France, where major strikes initiated by winegrowers broke out to denounce the artificial manufacture of wine and demand a healthier production only from grape juice. On June 9, 1907, 600,000 winegrowers demonstrated in Montpellier to condemn these abuses in wine making. Thanks to these revolts, a law was put in place on June 29, 1907 in France prohibiting the wetting of wine by adding water and the abuse of sugaring during winemaking.

Like organic or biodynamic wines, natural wines in principle (there is no label yet for natural wines in Switzerland) are wines that respect life and human health. The fundamental difference between them and organic or biodynamic wines is their winemaking process. A natural wine must come, as its name suggests, from "natural vinification", that is to say without interventionist principle on the part of the winegrower and above all without the addition of sulphites (used for their stabilizing and preserving principles). If you want to discover the world of natural wine, let yourself be tempted, provided you keep an open mind to new sensations that will come out of your way. You risk developing a taste for it and swearing only by the natural wines that will have won you over by their completeness, their authenticity and their liveliness.

Séan Langlois and Laura Couto Rosado.


Séan Langlois