What is Natural Wine?
While there are more than 3,000 wine growers in France, less than 3 percent of them are working in bio, biodynamic or natural methods of wine production. For ethical reasons, this relatively small community of wine growers has chosen environmentally friendly farming practices aimed at finding the natural expression of "terroir" – the full breadth of land, geography and climate – and the living character of the wine.
For these winemakers "terroir" is:
• carefully selected and managed vines integrated in ecosystem.
• cultivated land with little else.
• a chemically-neutral aquifer and growing soil that nourishes plants and their roots.
• microflora within the soil, feeding and nourishing the vine.
• winemakers working with natural and ecologically friendly techniques.
A natural wine is a wine made:
• from ripe grapes that are organic or biodynamic and have undergone minimal manipulation resulting in a wine free from chemical additives.
• from grapes harvested manually.
• with natural indigenous yeasts and bacteria.
• without using chemical additives to accelerate the stabilization or modify the natural juices.
• with gentle techniques that are environmentally friendly.
• without the use of sulfur or homeopathic dosages of sulfur (quantities that are up to five times less sulfur for red wine and 10 times less for white wines authorized by the European Commission).
Organic "Bio" wines:
• issue from vines grown according to precise specifications without chemical additives or chemical weed killers, or synthetic treatment of any kind.
• result from an intelligent farming based on respect for life and the earth's natural cycles.
• are tested and certified by private organizations and labeled AB – Agriculture Biologique.
• are 100% organically harvested beginning in 2012 (prior to 2012, grapes were not regulated as such) and certified by a European Union seal.
• is based on sustainable agricultural practices and the use of lightweight tools that respect the life of the growing soil.
• aims to strengthen the plant by improving the interactions between microorganisms in the soil and the root system of the vine.
• seeks to boost the beneficial effects of sunlight on the leaf system of the plant.
• optimizes the full expression of terroir.
• takes into account the lunar cycles affecting growth and plant life.
• uses organic composts and other eco-friendly preparations for plants to nourish living soil.
Natural wines are living and evolving; they are also healthy and highly digestible. These wines should be decanted; as they aerate, their complex aromas and flavors develop more fully. Decanting will also eliminate the slight natural gas sometimes present at the opening.