Drinks: “Nat­u­ral” wine is a niche you need to know about

Four ex­perts weigh in on wine’s buzzi­est cat­e­gory

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - CONTENTS - By Jim Clarke

How to speak “nat­u­ral”

Or­ganic wines are made from grapes grown with­out her­bi­cides and pes­ti­cides. Once har­vested, though, chem­i­cals and en­zymes can be used in the wine­mak­ing process. Peo­ple who make bio­dy­namic wines are a lit­tle … in­tense. They treat the vine­yard as a liv­ing sys­tem and say all forms of life—an­i­mals, soil mi­crobes, vines, other plants— ex­ist in bal­ance with each other and that a healthy har­vest is the re­sult of no im­bal­ances (or her­bi­cides and pes­ti­cides). Still, once th­ese grapes are picked, the wine­mak­ers can em­ploy chem­i­cals. A nat­u­ral wine is or­ganic or bio­dy­namic in the vine­yard—and free of ad­di­tives in the win­ery, mean­ing no yeasts, no nu­tri­ents, and, most con­tro­ver­sially, no sul­fur, which is used as a preser­va­tive to help a wine taste uni­form bot­tle to bot­tle. All of this helps give nat­u­ral wine its com­plex­ity— some might de­scribe it as “funk”—and ex­plains why oenophiles are into them: Just as we like to know ex­actly what we’re eat­ing th­ese days, we want to know ex­actly what we’re drink­ing, too.

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