Wine from nature

A Deep Dive into Natural Wines
Wine enthusiasts are always seeking new flavor experiences, and natural wines have garnered much attention lately. These unique wines, also known as "vin naturel," offer an intriguing glimpse into the world of winemaking. In this blog, I delve deeper into natural wines, from their origins to their characteristics and how to choose the best examples.
Ivo Nijboer

Interested in buying natural wine? I’ll teach you more about what natural wine is, the difference between natural wine and organic wine, and discover some of the best natural wines out there.

Everything about natural wines, you want to know

What is natural wine?

Discover the essence of these distinctive wines. The essence of natural wine is unlike ordinary wine. It is a function of nature, an approach to winemaking that focuses on minimal intervention. Unlike conventional wines, where additions and manipulations are common, natural wines are made with respect for the grape and the terroir. The result is a wine that embodies liveliness, character, and a true sense of place.

The Difference: Natural Wine vs. Organic Wine

Is there a difference between natural wine and organic wine? While both natural wines and organic wines represent more sustainable approaches to viticulture, there are some notable differences. Organic viticulture primarily focuses on minimizing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while natural wines aim for pure grape characteristics without added yeasts, and minimal additions such as sulfites.

The difference between organic wines and natural wines lies in their production processes and philosophies, although both types of wine aim for more sustainability and less human intervention in the winemaking process. Here’s an overview of the key differences:

Organic Wines

Organic wines are produced according to farming practices aimed at minimizing the use of synthetic chemicals and promoting a more natural approach. Key aspects of organic viticulture include:

  • Use of natural fertilizers
    Organic vineyards do not use artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides. Instead, they rely on organic compost and other natural soil improvers. This also fits well with a WFPB lifestyle or other pure forms of meal preparation.
  • No synthetic chemicals
    During the growing process, no synthetic chemicals are used to control pests and diseases. Instead, organic winegrowers rely on natural alternatives, such as planting certain crops between the vines to repel insects.
  • Limited use of sulfites
    Sulfites are natural preservatives often added to wine to extend its shelf life. Organic wines usually contain fewer sulfites than conventional wines. Environmentally conscious practices Organic viticulture aims to reduce environmental impact and support ecosystems. This can include working on soil health, water management, and biodiversity.

Natural Wines

Natural wines go a step further in their quest for minimal human intervention and focus on creating wines that are as pure as possible and maximize terroir expression. Key aspects of natural wines include:

  • Minimal interference
    Natural wines are produced with minimal intervention, where the winemaker interferes as little as possible with the winemaking process. This means that few to no additions or adjustments are made to the wine.
  • Spontaneous fermentation
    Natural wines often undergo spontaneous fermentation, where naturally occurring yeasts on the grape skins are used to initiate the fermentation process, rather than adding selected yeasts.
  • No additives
    Natural wines avoid the use of added sulfites, enzymes, sugars, acids, or other additives commonly used to influence the taste, color, or stability of wine.
  • Minimal filtration and clarification
    Natural wines are often not filtered or clarified, which can make them cloudy. This contributes to preserving the natural characteristics of the wine.
  • Focus on terroir
    Natural wines aim to accurately reflect the terroir, the unique combination of soil, climate, and grape varieties that influence the vines.

In essence, the difference between organic wines and natural wines lies in the degree of human intervention and the philosophy behind wine production. While organic wines focus on sustainability and reducing synthetic chemicals, natural wines go even further by striving for minimal intervention and maximizing the natural expression of the wine.

The color of character: Natural wines in the bottle

Natural wines often have a distinctive appearance. Their colors range from bright golden yellow to deep ruby ​​red. But what really stands out is their character. These wines can have a range of aromas and flavors, from lively citrus to earthy tones and wild spiciness. Each glass reveals a new story.

Natural wines are known for their unique colors and flavors that result from their minimal human interventions during the winemaking process. The color and character of natural wines tell you a lot about their origin, production, and even their taste profile. Let’s dive deeper into how you can recognize natural wines by their color and character.

The color spectrum of natural wines

The color of a wine is influenced by various factors, including grape variety, ripeness of the grapes, and how the wine is made. Natural wines often have a wide color spectrum ranging from subtle to intense, depending on their specific characteristics.

  • White: Natural white wines can range from light yellow to deep gold. They can sometimes even have an orange tint, caused by longer maceration of white grape skins during fermentation.
  • Red: Natural red wines can range from light pink to ruby red to deep purple. Some natural red wines can be cloudy or opaque, indicating minimal filtration and clarification.
  • Orange: Orange wines, also known as amber wines, are white wines made with extended maceration of the grape skins. This gives them a characteristic orange or coppery color.

Character and taste profile of natural wines

Natural wines are distinguished not only by their color but also by their pronounced character and taste profiles. Here are some general characteristics of natural wines:

  • Vibrant aromatic complexity
    Natural wines often have a wide range of aromatic notes ranging from flowers and fruit to herbs and herbaceous tones. They can contain complex fragrant layers that evolve as the wine opens up.
  • Less predictability
    Natural wines can taste surprisingly different from conventional wines. This is because they allow the natural properties of the grapes and the environment to come through more, making them less standardized.
  • Minimal sulfites
    Natural wines often have fewer added sulfites. This can result in a different mouthfeel and can sometimes lead to a slight tingling sensation.
  • Texture and mouthfeel
    Natural wines often have a specific texture and mouthfeel, ranging from light and crisp to full and tannic. This depends on factors such as maceration, fermentation, and oak aging.
  • Terroir expression
    Natural wines aim to maximize terroir expression, meaning they reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyard and microclimate.

It is important to note that the world of natural wines is very diverse, and each bottle has its own personality. If you want to discover how natural wines stand out, I invite you to try a few bottles. Pay attention to the color and taste the complexity of their character – each glass offers a unique and adventurous experience for your taste buds.

The top natural wines to try

Curious about the best natural wines? If you want to surprise your taste buds, there are some fantastic natural wines to discover. From fruity orange wine to the depth of a wild red wine, the world of natural wines is one to explore. Some renowned wines to discover are:

  1. 2Naturkinder Drei Freunde, Zuiver Wijnen
  2. Mo Rosé, Volatile Wines
  3. Bianchetto 2022, Wilde Wijnen 
Natuurwijn, wijn uit de natuur

5 benefits of natural wine

  1. True taste
  2. Healthier option
  3. Unique flavors
  4. Good for the earth
  5. Original and authentic

Enjoying sulfite-free: The rise of sulfite-free natural wines

Sulfite-free natural wines have emerged in response to the growing demand for organic and minimal-intervention production methods. Many wine enthusiasts like myself are looking for wines that have a purer, more authentic character and that are less dependent on additives and chemicals. This is where the rise of sulfite-free wines comes in.

Why choose sulfite-free natural wines? I’ll teach you the benefits. Sulfites are often present in conventional wines as preservatives, but many natural winemakers choose to keep their wines sulfite-free. This leads to wines that are purer, healthier, and possibly more friendly to those sensitive to sulfites. This movement has led to a growing popularity of sulfite-free natural wines.

What are sulfites and why are they important in wine production?

Sulfites are chemical compounds that occur naturally in wine, but they can also be added during wine production as preservatives. They help preserve the color, taste, and stability of the wine, as well as prevent unwanted oxidation and bacterial growth. Sulfites are often used in various food and beverage products to extend their shelf life.

Why do some winemakers choose to produce sulfite-free wines?

This choice is influenced by several factors. First of all, sulfite-free wine production fits well with the minimalist approach of natural wines. This approach aims to preserve the natural properties of grapes and terroir without too much human intervention. In addition, health consciousness plays a role. People who are sensitive to sulfites and experience allergic reactions to them can enjoy sulfite-free wines as an alternative without worrying about allergies. Moreover, many winemakers see producing sulfite-free wines as a challenge and an opportunity to innovate. They are forced to find alternative methods to stabilize and preserve the wine, leading to creative and innovative approaches in the winemaking process.

Challenges of sulfite-free wine production

Although sulfite-free wines are attractive to many wine enthusiasts, producing them also presents challenges. First of all, there is the issue of stability. Without sulfites, it can be challenging to keep the wine stable, especially during storage and transportation. Additionally, there is the aspect of oxidation. Sulfites contribute to preventing oxidation, so sulfite-free wines may be more susceptible to oxidative changes that can affect shelf life. Finally, there is the issue of consistency. Maintaining a consistent taste and quality can be more challenging without the use of sulfites.

The future of sulfite-free natural wines

While sulfite-free wines are still a niche within the wine world, their popularity seems to be growing. More and more winemakers are experimenting with sulfite-free production methods, and there is a growing demand from consumers looking for authentic, healthy, and environmentally friendly wine options.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just curious about new flavors, it’s worth exploring and tasting organic wines and natural wines. Who knows, you may have discovered your new favorite drink! Also, try kombucha or Yerba Maté!

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