While there’s no official definition; natural wine producers are those who will use little or no intervention in the vineyard and in the cellar in the production of their wine.
The fact that there is no specific definition is arguably the source of many of the arguments.
There is much debate within the natural wine scene over use of sulphur, or more specifically sulphur dioxide (SO2), some of the more zealous wine producers believe in no additions at all and others feel minimal sulphur use is welcome in wine production. Sulphur dioxide is an excellent anti-oxidant and microbicide and even a small amount can go a long way towards helping a producer make a stable wine.
Natural wine producers are led by a desire to portray the results of their terroir as accurately as possible and the argument is that no additions or manipulations allow this. Detractors would argue that a lack of additions can make many of the wines made naturally taste similar, effectively losing their sense of place, often due to minor faults (low level brettanomyces, mousiness, volatile acidity) that may not have existed with small sulphur dioxide additions.
What is without doubt is that there are excellent natural wines and poor natural wines in the same way there are excellent conventionally produced wines and poor conventionally made wines, great winemakers and not-so-great winemakers.
At Findlater & Co, we believe in good wine. Without labels, we strive to bring you delicious wine at every price point.
MICK O’CONNELL MW