Natural Wines and why they aren't going anywhere, anytime soon
Natural wine has undoubtedly become one of the most discussed topics in the wine industry. But for many consumers (and even some in the industry), the term remains a bit of a mystery.
Although the term is widely debated, natural wine is simply wine in its most pure and honest form. This means that the wine is produced from organically (and sometimes biodynamically) farmed fruit and has nothing added or taken away during the process. Yeasts used to ferment the wine are native (as opposed to cultivated/added), juice begins fermenting spontaneously, and little to no intervention is used in the cellar.
Why make natural wines?
The process of creating natural wines is generally better for the environment than conventional farming practices. For most organic wine producers, creating natural wines is another way to take care of the planet, which is then reflected in the juice in the bottle.
Not only do the producers of the wine want to take better care of the planet - so do consumers. Wine drinkers everywhere are rapidly becoming aware of the knock-on effect consuming cheaper & mass-produced wine has on the environment thanks to pesticides and chemicals in vineyards surrounding the environment.
What is the debate around natural wines?
There are two major arguments surrounding natural wine. Within the production world, the biggest debate is over the use of sulfur. Many natural winemakers choose to add minimal amounts of sulfur for the sake of wine preservation, though a handful of purists consider this an unnecessary addition to the wine. Most industry professionals agree that sulfur is a near necessary addition to conserve and preserve wine, though there are plenty of producers who challenge this statement.
The bigger debate surrounding natural wine is the issue of flaws. If not carefully monitored, natural wines are subject to a handful of wine flaws such as excess oxidation, volatile acidity, and/or mousiness. The issue comes when these flaws are excused as part & parcel of natural wines which is not the case. All wines should be enjoyed flaw-free, natural or not!
The future of natural wines
As natural wines gain more notability the demand from more mainstream consumers will grow and won't stop in the supermarkets. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ sixth annual Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast predicts that there will be a rise in demand in restaurants too, as more and more people learn about natural and organic wines.
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