What Is Natural Wine

SHOP ALL NATURAL WINES

 

Part anarchy, part time-honoured tradition, natural wines have existed for thousands of years prior to industrialisation. In this bygone era wine was not made using commercial yeasts, vitamins, enzymes, Mega Purple, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, powdered tannins or sulphur dioxide. These wines of the past were made from crushed grapes that fermented into wine, it was as simple as that, and no definition was needed as it was just 'the way it was done'. The techniques were vastly experimental and as varied as the winemakers themselves who worked with whatever opportunities were at their disposal. Today, natural wine is being artfully made, dutifully drank and savoured by those who champion a sustainable livelihood fed by the provisions of nature. Natural winemakers take calculated risks but thoroughly impressed with the results are forging ahead with a lot of faith and a hawk-eye attention to detail, both essential instruments, and to date very little failure has been recorded by sommeliers who are the natural wine movements' strongest supporters. 

The Philosophy of Natural Wines

Natural wines over arching philosophy is non-intervention. From vineyard to cellar  the wine is made using quality fruit grown by organic and biodynamic practices and experimental and free-form methods of viticulture. They are cultivated in tune with the 'nature' evident in both the grapes and the territory in which they grow.

concrete egg tank

The Techniques & Tools

The operative heading is 'Lo-Fi'. Clay Amphora or terracotta pots are types of vessels used for fermenting, as are ceramic eggs and demijohns. New oak barrels are used only when appropriate for the ageing process and not as a flavouring. Filtration is kept to a minimum as is the use of sulphur-dioxide and other additives. 

Looks Like and Tastes Like, The Results

Wines made without the regular assortment of additives or interventions offer a purity of fruit and impart the taste of the wines natural terroir. There may not necessarily be rollicking fruit-salad flavours in the glass, or a distinguishing scent of oak, rather natural wines are more cloudy, a kind of dusty yellow like organic apple juice, the scent and taste are vinous, slightly sour with a pulpy, gingery, gentle wine ending, something New York wine writer Alice Feiring sometimes refers to as a ''puppy breath'' finish. Other descriptors in the arena insinuate the natural taste as rustic, savoury, muddy, meaty and threateningly funky.

The Leading Practitioners in Australia

New generations of winemakers are making a full u-turn towards making wine 'naturally'. A group of creative Australian winemakers called 'Natural Selection Theory' advocate that "forgetting everything you know and relinquishing your old ways" are as close as you will get to a manifesto of natural winemaking in Australia and like the wines they produce, the group doesn't mind confronting established views on a how a wine should be created. It's members are Anton von Klopper of Lucy Margaux in the Adelaide Hills who employs handmade paper labels, uses cork exclusively and once attempted to make wine without electricity, and Tom Shobbrook the son of Eden Valley farmers who worked in Chianti for five years, James Erskine, a trained sommelier and soil scientist makes wine in the Adelaide Hills under the Jauma label and Sam Hughes from Sydney once described as part jongleur, part warlock is also a quintessentially radical winemaker and member of the group. In 2012 they embarked on 'The Egg Project' with Hunter Valley semillon. They fermented and aged the semillon in nine 44 litre egg shaped ceramic vessels and immersed them in three different soils types; quartz sand for 'isolation', red clay for 'love' and limestone for 'strength'. The finished wine was released in 900ml 'birthing spheres' and came with a 12-inch LP dedicated to "The Sounds of Birth". The same year they released 'Voice of the People', their ode to a peasant wine made in a 23 litre demijohn with the red wine topped with olive oil to keep it fresh.

"Have the strength to let it fail" is their maxim.

What the critics are saying

"If it gets people interested in wine who might not otherwise be interested, you cannot argue against that being a good thing," says Australias most prominent wine writer James Halliday but some conventional wine makers have stated that "it would be remiss to throw the baby out with the bath water", as they have tirelessly beaten their armour to defend their ways of winemaking to ensure certain qualities that indicate well made wines and their specific characteristics are given due regard. Also protective of conventional winemaking is John Rymill; "it infers the rest of us are indulging in unnatural winemaking, which is not so", but Banjo Harris Plane, sommelier at acclaimed Attica restaurant says natural wines offer a flavour and texture not found in more conventionally made wine; "I've been working with wine most of my adult life and when I came across these wines they were so new and exciting that they really took my breath away."

 

RECOMMENDED NATURAL WINES


  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Del Popolo Rosso 2021

A well held and balanced red with aromas of bright red plum, deep berries....

$21.29 in a straight 12 or $24.00 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Organic
Mercer Preservative Free Fizz 2023

Jovial bubbles flaunt finesse and length, revealing a story of juicy nashi, star fruit and hazelnut. Crafted gently in t...

$21.27 in a straight 12 or $24.50 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Del Popolo Bianco 2022

A blend of white grapes forms a dry white with a subtle skinsy lift. A palate of ripe nectarine and peach. ...

$21.29 in a straight 12 or $24.00 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Minimum Light Red 2022

BRIGHT - JUICY - CHILLABLE The perfect chillable park red - very light, bright and juicy. Soft, red and wild fruits with...

$24.25 in a straight 12 or $27.60 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Minimum Red Sangiovese Syrah 2021

Dark red cherries, forest floor, with a touch of richness. Round vibes and a light grip; a warm hug from Nonno. The peo...

$24.25 in a straight 12 or $27.60 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Organic
Rosnay Garage Wine No. 17 Skin Contact White 2022

This is a crisp, low-alcohol, phenolic white blend of early picked Chardonnay fermented on skins in the “egg” (ceramic t...

$25.25 in a straight 12 or $28.99 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Cullen Pet Nat Sparkling Rose Moon 2021

Vibrant lime and citrus, fresh doughy yeast. A supple palate finishing with clean and fresh acidity. Dazzling bouquet of...

$49.50 in a straight 12 or $56.40 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
Hochkirch Maximus Pinot Noir 2021

Bright cherry fruit on the nose, in the mouth it has a sublime silky texture. Flavours abound, fruit, spice, savoury ear...

$62.37 in a straight 12 or $71.30 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Minimum 'Of Another World' Syrah 2022

This Syrah shouts ripe, dark red fruits - plum, red cherry, cranberry - with subtle florals. A light grip and intensity ...

$30.29 in a straight 12 or $33.80 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Minimum San Selvaggio 2021

A pensive and wise companion for all; young at heart, traditional in spirit. This is made to drink now (can be served li...

$29.20 in a straight 12 or $33.30 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Organic
Rosnay Garage Wine No. 15 Petillant Naturel 2022

Not champagne, not prosecco, not cider, but with elements of each, this wine is bottle fermented without the addition of...

$30.69 in a straight 12 or $34.90 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Organic
Rosnay Garage Wine No. 16 Petillant Naturel Rose 2022

Peachy pink in colour, this natural wine opens with a lovely frothy pop and a slight burnt match aroma, then hits the li...

$30.69 in a straight 12 or $35.20 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
Wildman Wines Piggy Pop Pet Nat 2021

CHERRY - POMEGRANATE - FROTHY Every Bottle will raise $6 in donations to help relocate Ukrainian refugees - click to rea...

$36.63 in a straight 12 or $41.99 each