So what do we mean by "natural" wine?
I was born and raised in Antioch, Tennessee where my grandmother put me to work in our backyard garden. Covered in mosquito bites at the resilient age of five, I pulled dandelions and other weeds to make room for spinach, tomatoes, summer squash, and sugar snap peas. My family didn’t live near a supermarket and with two working parents, there wasn’t a lot of time to make it out to the closest one. Thanks to my grandma’s garden, we had access to healthy food.
We believe that wine is an agricultural product that comes from the earth. Because of this we hold wine to the same high standards to which we hold other types of produce like organic farming and the absence of preservatives. We think that grape growing should be good for the earth and for our health and that farming should be sustainable for the environment. What we call natural wines are wines made with the least possible use of chemicals, additives and technological procedures. There are over 200 different synthetic chemical additives permitted in winemaking today and a plethora of modern winemaking techniques that can change the way wine tastes. Manipulation done by winemakers doesn’t necessarily make a wine taste bad, or make it unethical or make it not wine, but we think it erases the individuality of the wine and the place it comes from. For us the most exciting and interesting part of the world of wine is the individuality of great wine. This is the idea of Terroir.
We live in a time where wine made in one country can taste exactly like a wine made half way across the world. Many of these wines can taste the same every single year, with no mention that perhaps one year’s weather was different than the last. We believe that wine should taste different every year, that it should reflect the ground it come out of and the vineyard the grapes were picked. For us, naturally made wines are the most expressive vehicle of Terroir; the thousands of different factors that cause a wine to taste unique. Terroir is the soil, minerals, wind, sunlight, rain, yeasts, bacteria, smells, bugs and the emotion of the vineyard area. It is a complex notion which takes into account every minute detail in the vineyard. We think that modern, industrial farming and winemaking covers up Terroir and that the best way to find true Terroir is through wines made naturally.
We want to drink wines that come from grapes that are farmed organically or Biodynamically and vinified additive free without manipulations. Natural wine can be Grand Cru Burgundy or simple table wine. It might be 100% Pinot Noir or a blend of ten different grape varieties. It might cost $10 or $100. There are naturally made wines in every category and style. For us it is simple; what naturally made wines all have in common is purity and honesty of expression.
We like to work with small, family run wineries and we like to know the people who work there. It’s important for us to understand their lives and culture and for them to understand us. Don’t expect big brands and huge marketing dollars out of our portfolio, but you can expect the following good stuff from our wines.
- Organic farming (with or without certification)
- No synthetic chemicals on the vines
- Use of indigenous yeast (wild yeast)
- Handpicked grapes
- Careful, gentle winemaking (low pumping, no micro-oxygenation)
- Low to no filtering
- No fining
- Low sulphites
- No sugar additives
- Low use of new oak
- No color, acid or tannin adjustments or additives
All of these aspects are ideal for us but we accept that some may be on the path to making wine naturally and aren’t there yet. We love wine and we are romantic about the world of wine but we are not dogmatic or rule bound. We like to work with winemakers that share the spirit of these ideas, that care about the earth and have a desire to make the best wine they can in the most natural way possible.
Please also remember that Organic viticulture is not enough to make a wine natural. Organic and sustainable growing certifications are fantastic but they only take into account what happens in the vineyard. For us, the entire process of winemaking must be chemical free and low intervention. Good winemaking always starts with good farming, but clean, healthy cellar work is very important to us too.
We are always available to answer your questions and curiosities. Don’t hesitate to ask!
Jesse and Taylor email@example.com