If you are a wine lover, you might have noticed a rise in labeling and marketing jargon like "natural," "organic," or "biodynamic" in recent years. Natural Wines in particular are becoming more popular. The "natural" phrase denotes the opposite of wine as you know it. Wine is an agricultural product, and several farming practices go into its production. While most people recognize organic produce, Natural Wine goes even further.
Choosing and buying wine is already enough of a problem for the typical wine drinker. There are limitless choices thanks to the many grape varieties, unheard-of regions, and eye-catching label artwork. This post explores natural wine vs regular wine and the details of both.
What is Natural Wine?
So what is Natural Wine really? Although it has gained favor more recently, natural winemaking is the original and oldest way to produce wine. While there is no official regulation or global definition, Natural Wine is known to include three components: organically grown grapes, wild native yeast, and no added chemicals.
While regular wine production involves additives and chemicals in the winery and vineyard, Natural Wines are frequently referred to as having "nothing added, nothing removed." It originates from pure, fermented grape juice. Its production does not involve any manipulation or use of chemicals or additives.
This is a bit different from organic wines. While organic wineries do not allow chemicals to be used in farming, some stages of the winemaking process could still involve chemicals or additives. Natural Wines go a step further. In other words, all Natural Wines are organic, although not all organic wineries may be classified as natural.
Natural Wine vs Regular Wine: Similarities
Both Natural and Conventional wines are the products of alcoholic fermentation, whereby a specific kind of yeast, sacchoromyces, consumes the sugar in grapes, and turns it into alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. The complexity and nuance of all wines are the result of this and other carefully-controlled chemical reactions, as well as other arbitrary choices in the vineyard and the winery, like when to pick the grapes, and how to age the wine before bottling.
Both natural and regular wines can be delectable table complements, in the best situations heightening the flavors of food, while the food enhances the flavor of the wine. Whether it’s a Chardonnay with white fish or a Cabernet with a steak, the pairings are endless.
Natural Wine vs Regular Wine: Differences
There are far more differences than similarities between Natural Wines and regular wines.
Natural Wine production cannot employ synthetic fertilizer to enhance the growth of the grapes, but manure from animals or plants is acceptable. Growers can also use natural compost, plant extracts, and other earthen materials. It forbids chemical insecticides; as grapes grow, they fight disease and harmful insects naturally.
Natural and conventional wines mostly differ in how they’re made though! This includes how the grapes are harvested, the fermentation, whether the wine is filtered or clarified in any way, and how certain wine faults are avoided.
Natural Wines involve manual harvesting by hand, which is labor-intensive and more costly than machine harvesting for regular wines. The fermentation process starts once the grapes have been pressed or crushed following harvesting. In the case of conventional wines, winemakers will neutralize the native yeast found on the grape skins, and inoculate the ferment with packaged, sometimes genetically-modified, or lab-grown yeast, designed to give the wines a specific flavor. Instead, Natural Wines are fermented with native, wild yeasts that are found on the skins of the grapes, but also the wines of the winery - this is one reason why the strictest policies in many wineries often involve the handling of yeasts
The filtration of Natural Wine versus regular wine varies in the approach to processing and preserving the wine before bottling. Natural Wines are made with minimal intervention from the winemaker and are often not filtered at all. This results in a wine that is more true to its origins and may have a more distinct flavor profile, but also may have sediment or cloudiness. Regular wines, on the other hand, are often heavily processed and filtered to remove any impurities and ensure a consistent taste and appearance.
Additives used in winemaking are like pesticides used in farming; they are lab made chemicals that make production easier, faster, and cheaper. For instance, mass producers use l fining agents to reduce a wine’s haziness; these typically include animal products with lots of protein or gelatin to bind to the solids in a wine, including egg whites, bull’s blood, or fish bladders. They also use defoaming agents, preservatives and even colorants to change a wine’s color, and so on.
Natural Wines are often organically farmed (at minimum) and typically grown without irrigation, never vying for other industrial farming techniques, all by family farmers we know and trust. Here at Dry Farm Wines, we don’t work with any large companies; only farmers who prize biodiversity, healthy soils and a love of the natural. It is a way of life and a commitment.
Wine production is not the only distinction when comparing natural wines with other wines. You will find a considerable improvement in both appearance and flavor. Since Natural Wine is unprocessed, its hue may seem cloudier than the red or white regular wines you are accustomed to. Most Natural Wines have more distinct, varietally-specific aromas because they are made with less human intervention, and grown in healthy soils.
Benefits of Drinking Natural Wine
Natural Wines are devoid of additives. They allow the grapes, and the land they came from, to flourish, unlike commercialized regular wines that frequently have additional sugar, coloring agents, and other flavorings. Regular wines use grapes that are excessively treated with pesticides and other substances. It could leave residues in the final wine, in addition to causing environmental damage.
Natural Wines taste livelier and are more true to where they are from. Most people who have tasted both regular and Natural Wine claim to appreciate the Natural Wine's flavor. They like these wines because they are more terroir-driven and subtle, with a stronger feeling of the place.
Natural Wines can also be sugar-free, sugar-free wine is wine that has less than 1 gram of sugar per liter of wine. Fermentation is the determining factor in a wine’s sugar content. As wine ferments, yeasts convert sugar to alcohol. Eventually, the yeasts will consume the sugar, leaving low if any residual sugars. This process is called full fermentation and is the most natural way to remove the sugar from the final product.
Get Pure Natural Wines from Dry Farm Wines
At Dry Farm Wines, we aim to support sustainability in our community while sourcing, promoting, and supplying naturally made wine. Our mission is to restore the original concept of wine as a natural product.
Our Natural Wines are genuine and authentic and accurately reflect their soils. They are an environmentally friendly and healthy option. Although many wines claim to be naturally sourced, we estimate less than 0.01% of all wineries would meet our guidelines. We vet all growers, taste every wine, and lab-test each wine. Join our community or contact us today for pure Natural Wines.