Frequently Asked Questions
What is natural wine?
It starts with organically, or (even better) biodynamically grown grapes in the vineyard. In the cellar, it's a less is more approach with winemakers intervening as little as possible. No synthetic additives like mega purple, acidifiers, or fake tannins are used. Native yeasts naturally dwelling in the vineyard and winery spawn spontaneous fermentations. Conventional wineries use factory-grown yeast strands. Minimal sulfur additions may be employed for shelf stabilization, but often is not.
What is low intervention / minimal intervention wine?
It's very similar to natural wine. The problem is that natural wine and low intervention wine reside in a spectrum rather than a black and white criteria. So, to some, the use of things like a temperature controlled fermentation tank or new oak barrels may make some bottles considered NOT a natural wine. Why? Well to use the above examples:
- Temperature Controlled Fermentation: one can argue that the temperature controlled environment is not a natural component of the grape juice >> wine transformation, regardless of the grapes being organic and the yeast being native/indigenous/ambient.
- Use of new oak: new oak (particularly american oak) barrels impart flavors of vanilla, coconut, baking spices, etc. Many consider this as an interference with what could have been a more natural fermentaion/maturation process with less human intervention.
In short, low intervention wines are made thoughtfully and responsibly. They still do an excellent job of representing terroir. But, they may not tick every box that natural wine fanatics are looking for.