Natural wine? But wine is natural!

The ABC’s of wine.

It is true that wine has a lot to do with nature. Nevertheless, it is and remains part of man’s cultural heritage, and therefore is a child of civilization.

Wine needs the hand of man to transform wild vines into cultivated vineyards and to keep the fermented grapes from becoming vinegar.  Man is able to draw on experience.   This is how traditions are born and developed, and how progress is made with experience and new knowledge.

In the course of this development, about 40 years ago, the movement for returning to natural wine (vin naturel) crystalized.  This movement has matured over the years, and is now taken very seriously in the world of wine.

Modernization and globalization have had a long and a strong influence on the production of wine.  To producers who adopt natural methods of making wine, this decisive question comes up:   how and to what point should man’s hand push nature in its efforts at domestication?

The question is not simply about ecology and sustainability, the health of consumers and producers, the conservation of the soil or the fertility of the land.  Critically, there are also considerations about the authentic expression of a cultivated land and its climate, the conditions of a harvest, and the taste and the wholesomeness of a wine.

Wine is biodynamic… and much more.

The movement began with a group of five French dissidents – “the group of 5” – young winemakers who were mostly from the Beaujolais area. And over time, a network of winemakers, commercial producers and journalists grew beyond the confines of France.

In Switzerland, there are more and more tastemakers who are choosing natural wine, and here too in Italy, more and more professional winemakers are pressing their grapes naturally.  Today, natural wines are served in thousands of international restaurants, influencing the world of wine in significant and long-lasting ways.

Natural wine has found a place for itself that it will never lose!


What is natural wine?

The cultivation

  • The grapes must be cultivated in a biological or biodynamic manner.
  • The grapes must be cultivated by hand only.

The aging process

  • The original structure and uniqueness of each grape must be respected.  During vinification, all invasive or traumatic technical processes which alter taste must be renounced, such as reverse osmosis (dehydration), tangential filtration, pasteurization, thermovinification, and micro oxygenation.
  • The natural grape fermentation process must be respected, i.e., spontaneous fermentation by wild yeast present on the grape’s skin and in in the wine cellar must allowed to take place without interference.
  • There can be no addition of any chemicals, plant or animal, such as chosen yeasts, chosen bacteria, sugaring, or treatments to correct and/or beautify.
  • Very little or no SO2 can be added: 0 – 30 mg/l for sparkling wines and red wines; 0-40 mg/l for white wines.  These amounts are sufficient, regardless of residual sugar content.

Nothing should be added to a natural wine nor removed.  Because nothing is added, the wines can also be defined as vegan.