If you're looking to add sustainable wine options to your regular rotation, you'll be joining approximately 46% of regular US wine drinkers who are now choosing sustainable wine when it's available.
The popularity of sustainable wine like natural wine has increased over the past year and is continuing to follow this trend.
But buying new wines can be overwhelming, and how do you know if you'll like it? Luckily, getting the answer to the question, "What is natural wine" will help you choose a natural wine you'll be happy with long-term.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about natural wines, including ingredients and how they're made.
What Is Natural Wine?
While there isn't a category with official standards that dictate how natural wine should be made, it's still in a class of its own.
First, let's look at what makes natural wine natural. It all starts with the winemaking process, with natural wine involving minimal intervention. This means nothing is added or taken away during the production process.
Most winemakers produce natural wines with organic grapes. Some winemakers use biodynamic grapes, which are produced without any pesticides or growth stimulants. Biodynamic grapes also meet or exceed organic-certified farming regulations.
The grapes are then allowed to ferment into wild yeast, and winemakers use little to no preservatives or additives during this process.
Overall, natural wines don't contain any chemicals or additives like:
- Commercial yeasts
- Yeast nutrients
Additionally, natural wines don't involve the use of any machinery. This includes no mechanical harvesting, as grapes are hand-picked.
Natural Wine vs. Regular Wine
The main difference between regular wine and natural wine is the production process. Remember, traditional winemaking involves many interventions throughout the entire process.
This includes the use of sulfites in traditional wine to preserve freshness. Traditional winemaking also involves growth-enhancing herbicides and other additives. Heavy machinery is also utilized, with traditional winemakers using machine pickers at harvest time.
Winemakers can also use other additives that they don't have to put on the label to help control things like:
Natural wine also tends to have less alcohol content than regular wine. This is because regular wines add sugar during the fermentation process to speed it up. Doing this increases the alcohol level.
Since natural wine has no added sugar, it naturally has a lower alcohol content.
Finally, regular wine goes through a filtration process before bottling while natural wine does not.
What Does Natural Wine Taste Like?
The flavors of natural wine vary, depending on the producer. You'll also find that each bottle of wine can have different nuances in taste. Remember, natural wines only contain grapes, with no added sugar to enhance the taste.
Some natural wines are slightly similar to cider or kombucha, while others are very light and easy to drink.
In general, natural wine has more acidity which gives it a more savory flavor. You'll often hear this savory flavor described as "funk."
They're also much less fruity, but you'll find some natural wines taste more fruity than others. You'll also find that natural wine has many lighter options, mostly due to its lower alcohol content.
The taste of natural wine usually reflects the location and growing conditions more strongly than regular wine.
What Makes Natural Wine Cloudy?
Natural wine is hazy or cloudy because it's not filtered. It's also not clarified with substances like egg whites or gelatin. Wine clarification removes sediment from wine, giving regular wine its clear appearance.
Since natural wines involve no interventions like clarification, you'll notice it has sediment. Sediment is not harmful, but if you don't like the texture, you can simply let it settle to the bottom of your glass.
Is Natural Wine Considered Organic?
Since natural wine is made from organic or biodynamic grapes, it is organic.
However, it's essential to realize that organic wines aren't always made using the natural method. Certified organic wines have to use grapes that don't use pesticides and fertilizers, but this process does allow for additives and machines.
It's good to keep this in mind in case you were to buy an organic wine, thinking it's also a natural wine.
Does Natural Wine Contain Sulfites?
Sulfites are food preservatives that are typically used in the winemaking process. This is because of their ability to maintain the freshness and flavor of wine. In addition to wine, you can find sulfites in a variety of foods and drinks like:
- Black tea
- Fermented foods
Sulfites also help to preserve various foods like jellies, jams, and sausages.
However, they're mostly associated with the side effects of wine consumption, particularly hangover effects like wine-induced headaches.
While all wine naturally contains sulfites, more are artificially added to regular wine. Natural wine has no added sulfites, so it's only present in very tiny quantities.
When Did Natural Wine Begin Rising in Popularity?
Chemicals in agriculture became much more popular after World War II. Most vineyards began using herbicides and pesticides to protect their grapes.
In the 1950s, winemakers in France began to come together and discuss their desire to make wine naturally. It was thought it was better for people to know exactly what they were drinking. Thus, they started producing wine with no artificial additives, using ancient winemaking processes.
Once it became popular in France, it spread to other countries, such as:
Nowadays, natural winemaking has continued to grow in popularity thanks to evolving organic farming trends. People worldwide are looking for more innovative ways to make environmentally conscious choices when it comes to food and drink production.
Are Natural Wines Healthier for You?
It goes without saying that natural wines are a healthier option due to fewer additives and pesticides. It can even provide some health benefits.
But how does this process truly impact your body?
Improves Gut Bacteria
First, natural winemaking involves no filtering. As a result, you'll also drink gut-healthy antioxidants and bacteria that occur during fermentation.
The fact is fermented foods have been a significant part of our diet for thousands of years. They have specific microorganisms that interact with the gut, increasing microbiome diversity and decreasing inflammatory proteins.
Gut bacteria play an essential role in your overall health, aiding in digestion and supplying your body with the nutrients it needs.
Usually Has Less Carbs and Sugar
Natural wines also typically have fewer carbs and less sugar than regular wines since they contain no added sugar.
Ultimately this can help decrease weight gain and your sugar intake overall. It can also decrease inflammation and keep your blood glucose levels lower.
Additionally, since natural wine has fewer sulfites, you won't be as likely to experience adverse wine-drinking effects like headaches.
Some people can also be prone to allergic reactions to sulfites, like diarrhea, upset stomach, and fast heartbeat. These reactions are much less likely to occur after drinking natural wine.
How Should You Store Natural Wine?
Natural wines can be more fragile than regular wines, so it's important to learn the best storage practices before you buy.
Although the ideal temperature for storing wines can vary, it's best to store them between 58 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep your natural wine bottles in an area with low humidity. If the storage area is too dry, wine corks tend to dry out. On the other hand, if it's too humid, mold can easily form.
Using a wine fridge is best since it allows you to set precise temperatures specifically for wine storage. Also, keeping your wine in the dark can prevent UV rays from damaging the flavors.
Finally, aging natural wine depends on the variety and winemaking process, but in most cases, you should consume it within a few years. Since they don't have added preservatives, they don't do the best in long-term storage.
What Are the Most Common Natural Wine Flavors?
Now that you understand more about the taste, it's time to take the next step. This involves learning more about some of the natural flavors you'll find.
These flavors include:
Orange wines are made much like red wine. The seeds and skin stay in contact with the juice during the fermentation process.
Making orange wine involves using ancient natural techniques that involve a ceramic or cement vessel for grape mashing. Grapes are left alone to ferment for varying time frames, with seeds and skins attached.
Folktale The Lion For Real Orange Wine 2021 is a fantastic natural orange wine that has contained a unique blend of grapes over the years, including Riesling and Chardonnay.
Pétillant Naturel or "Pet Nat" is an ancient sparkling method that involves wine fermenting in bottles. This causes a natural carbonation process that gives a natural spritz.
While you're probably familiar with regular sparkling wine options that use a lot of sugar, natural sparkling wines remain sugar-free with no added yeast.
This Wine Fellas Thunder Daze sparkling wine is a great option, with a mix of orchard apples and scents of key lime pie.
Rose wine is famous for its beautiful light pink color. To achieve this, winemakers must use juice from fermented black grapes. These grapes need to be fermented with their skin for a shorter time frame.
Natural rose wine has a sweet flavor and can be a bit dry for some tastes. Wine Fellas Pink Dreams Mendocino Rose from Liquorama is a natural wine option that will expand your mind.
Pink Dreams is like drinking summertime, with notes of refreshing cranberry fruit and watermelon and undertones of peachy-chamomile tea.
If you love your red wine, you'll be delighted to know you can find delicious natural red wines that you're sure to enjoy.
Red wine is made by fermenting dark-skinned grapes and is packed full of antioxidants. Natural red wines like Las Jaras Slipper Sippers are made from a technique known as carbonic maceration.
This involves fermenting grapes in an environment rich in carbon dioxide before crushing them. They're then sealed for a few days so they can ferment. Las Jaras is delicious, and you'll find hints of black plum and boysenberry, along with chocolate-covered cherries.
You might also enjoy wine that's deep in color and fruit flavors. The tangy, Syrah wine Scotty Boy Big Tang Santa Barbara hits all the right chords. Cinnamon, blackberries, and under-ripe dates will tantalize your palate. Hints of a black peppercorn aroma will draw you in.
If you're new to drinking red wine and wondering what types of food to pair it with, you can check out this guide for some valuable tips.
White wines consist of both black and white grapes without skins. When the skin is left out, the grape juice becomes much lighter and clearer in color.
White wine is typically more acidic, and you'll find it has tart, crisp flavors.
If you're looking for a refreshing natural lighter wine, you can try Santa Julia Natural Torrontes Blanco 2021 (Argentina) wine. It's got aromas of peaches, jasmine, rose petals, and geraniums.
You'll also notice citrus aromas and appreciate its refreshing taste.
Finally, if you want a true white wine that lingers on the palate, Krasno White Wine is just the ticket. The color has tons of amber and light copper shades, and you'll find notes of ripe pear and hints of thyme.
It stays around for a long time, providing a fresh aftertaste consisting of roasted almonds.
Get Delicious Natural Wines Delivered Right to Your Door
Now you know the answer to the question, "What is natural wine," you'll feel much more confident shopping for natural wines.
If you're looking for a convenient way to get fine wines and spirits delivered directly to your door, you don't have to look further than Liquorama. We're a family-owned and operated fine wine and spirits go-to destination located in Southern California.
We opened in 1978, and continue to offer high-quality service and a variety of wine, liquor, and beer products at a great price. We prioritize our customers and work to resolve any concerns immediately.
Make sure to visit us online today to browse through our natural wine selection to find the perfect wine for you.