Natural wine

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Natural wine is wine made with minimal chemical and technological intervention, both in growing grapes and making them into wine. The term is used to distinguish such wine from organic wine and biodynamic wine because of differences in cellar practices. All natural wines are, however, farmed organically at a minimum and many growers are biodynamic in the vineyard as well.

Strictly speaking, natural wines are wines that are produced without adding or removing anything during winemaking, although some growers add tiny quantities of sulphites at bottling, so that strictly speaking their wines are not natural wines, but 'only' organic (and possibly biodynamic).

Organic wine is organic in the sense of having been produced from organically grown grapes, but may be subject to chemical and physical manipulation in the winemaking process.[1]

Among the most influential personalities and ambassadors for natural wines is worth mentioning sommeliers like Pierre Jancou (La Crémerie, Le bistrot Racines, Vivant and Heimat) and Ewen Le Moigne (Saturne) from Paris and Anders Frederik Steen (He worked as sommelier at the world-famous restaurant Noma, then joined Noma alums to form the highly acclaimed restaurant Relae and then Manfreds, both in Copenhagen.) Now Anders is a winemaker in Ardèche. Another influential name is Natural Wine World is Isabelle Legeron MW, France's only female Master of Wine and the only MW worldwide dedicated to the subject.


At the present time (2013) there exists no official or legal definition of natural wine; neither has any legislation been passed to date by any regional, national or supranational authority, and there are no organizations that can certify that a wine is natural.

However, there are many unofficial definitions or codes of practice published by the different associations of natural wine producers:

  • RAW WINE (UK, Germany, USA) [1]
  • L´Association des Vins Naturels (France) [2]
  • Les Vins S.A.I.N.S (France) [3]
  • La Renaissance des Appellations (France) [4]
  • Vini Veri (Italy) [5]
  • Vinnatur (Italy) [6]
  • Asociación de Productores de Vinos Naturales de España (Spain) [7]
  • Philipp Wittmann, Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (Germany) [8]
  • Autentisté (Czech and Slovak Republic)
  • Terra Hungarica (Hungary and Carpathian Basin) [9]

Additionally, many articles have been written defining what is or is not natural wine given that there is no clear consensus or definition on the topic as of yet.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


The following basic criteria are generally accepted by most natural wine producers and organizations:

Key individuals[edit]

The following people were or are instrumental in the production or communication of contemporary natural wine:

  • Rudolf Steiner, curator of biodynamics.
  • Maria Thun - was a leading authority on “biodynamics”, an approach to agriculture and horticulture which uses the waxing and waning of the moon and the position of the planets and constellations to determine when to sow and harvest; her annual Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar was regarded as a vital land practice tool by aficionados.
  • Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese philosopher of farming.
  • Jules Chauvet, developer of carbonic maceration fermentation, sulphite free winemaking, and author.
  • Nicolas Joly, wine producer, head of Renaissance des Appellations Controlees, and spokesman for biodynamics.
  • Marcel Lapierre, wine producer, mentor, and early adopter of low to no sulphite winemaking.
  • Isabelle Legeron MW, founder of RAW WINE and author of Natural Wine: an introduction to organic & biodynamic wines made naturally, which received positive reviews from The World of Fine Wine and Decanter Magazine.
  • James Hird, along with Giorgio De Maria and Mike Bennie, co-Founders of Rootstock Sydney Festival, a not for profit, sustainable wine and food festival in Sydney Australia.


The term "Natural wine" is considered by some critics, such as Tom Wark, to be a misleading term. There is no established certification body and the term has no legal status. Winemakers who describe themselves (or are described by others) as "natural" often differ in what they consider to be an acceptable level of intervention. The term might also confuse consumers into assuming that the wine is organically grown.

The inherent ambiguity of the term has been defended by Bradford Taylor, owner of Ordinaire, a wine bar in Oakland, California that exclusively serves natural wine. According to Taylor, "there's something productive about how nebulous the term 'natural' is, how it opens itself up to debate every time it comes up."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Breton, Félicien: Organic wines
  2. ^ Teague, Lettie (11 July 2013). "The Actual Facts Behind the Rise of Natural Wine" – via
  3. ^ "Wine News". Decanter.
  4. ^ Asimov, Eric (17 May 2018). "Natural Wines Worth a Taste, but Not the Vitriol" – via
  5. ^ Moore, Victoria (5 May 2011). "Be wary at the Natural Wine Fair" – via
  6. ^ "Lifestyle news, reviews, photos and video from New Zealand and around the world" – via
  7. ^ Atkin, Tim. "Tim Atkin MW - Articles - An agnostic's view of natural wines".
  8. ^ "Wine News". Decanter.
  9. ^ Mobley, Esther (March 9, 2016). "Ordinaire in Oakland a shrine to natural wine". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.