What’s with all the hoopla around “natural” wines lately?

By / Magazine / January 16th, 2018 / 6

When it comes to hoopla, natural wines are currently knee-deep in it. Before you get all hot and bothered about all that unnatural wine you’ve been drinking, the bare-bones definition of a “natural” wine is one that has had nothing (or at the least next to nothing) added or subtracted during its creation. Avoiding the use of chemicals, supplements and even modern production methods, the wines hit the bottle as Mother Nature intended.

Now no one ever accused Ms Nature of being a winemaker, so while the growing list of hipsters getting into wine appear to appreciate their beverage of choice in its naked form, there are just as many aficionados who find wine in the raw to be both visually (some can look as murky as a neglected fish tank) and stylistically unsettling.

While many natural-wine producers follow an organic or biodynamic production path, they are different in the fact that they just let things happen inside the winery rather than support their output with even modest intervention as is typical of organic or biodynamic producers.

Drinking like an ancient Greek has a certain appeal, especially if you’re a student of the true origins of wine. Some will say that if you’re a natural-wine fan you’re really a connoisseur of the faults that, while rooted out of the juice made by those utilizing contemporary winemaking techniques, will undoubtedly show up in wines created au natural.

Personally I’m on the fence. I’ve had just as many naturally-made wines that turned me on as off. What I do like is hearing people debate about wine, so may the conversation continue.


Fresh, funny and down-to-earth, Peter Rockwell is the everyman's wine writer. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia he's worked in the liquor industry for over 30 years and has written about wine, spirits & beer since graduating from the School of Journalism at the University of King's College in 1986. His reviews and feature articles have been published in Tidings, Vines, Occasions, Where and on Alliant.net to name a few; he has been a weekly on-air wine feature columnist for both CBC-TV and Global Television and his wine column 'Liquid Assets' appeared weekly in two of Nova Scotia's daily newspapers, 'The Halifax Daily News' and 'The Cape Breton Post.' Today Peter's irreverent answer man column 'Bon Vivant' appears each month in Tidings Magazine and his weekly 'Liquid Assets' column is published across Canada in editions of the METRO newspaper. When not drinking at home, and at work, Peter travels the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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