Naturally occurring wines, ranging from orange to glou-glou, piquette to pét nat, organic, biodynamic, unfiltered, and zero-zero, provide much more than just a low-sulfite substitute for traditional wines.
Natural wine has become more and more popular recently, but it’s not a new concept or buzzword. For thousands of years, people have fermented grapes without the use of chemicals.
Natural wine is grown everywhere favorable conditions exist, much as conventional wine: in the heart of the Mediterranean and in other warm microclimates across the world.
The particular soil and growing conditions of the grapevines used to produce natural wine give it its distinct funk, flavor, and juiciness.
The minerality of the surrounding limestone mountains is reflected in the clean whites of Slovenia’s Vipava Valley. Bold, vivid reds are mixed with slate, absorbed by roots growing through layers of rock in this arid, mountainous region of Spain called Priorat, just south of Barcelona.
While Tuscany’s rolling hills or France’s renowned Loire Valley produce juicy red wines, they may be more fruit-forward and have a strong herb and spice note.
Natural wine is produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, and with the use of minimal to no additives, such as sulfites. Typically, classic winemaking techniques provide the foundation of this low-intervention strategy.
The spread of false narratives claiming that drinking alcohol has health benefits has been linked to the alcohol industry.
The natural wine movement has grown in favor recently as people believe it to be a more nutritious and healthful option than traditional wines. Nevertheless, there is no scientific evidence to back up this view.
Here are some things to consider whether you’re a natural wine enthusiast, skeptic, or just interested.
What distinguishes conventional wine from natural wine?
In order to preserve regional grapes, natural wine is made on smaller, sustainable vineyards as opposed to large-scale conventional wine manufacturing.
Organic or biodynamic wine can be classified as natural wine, and many small wineries naturally create natural wine by default.
Nothing is added or taken out when creating wine the natural way. Conversely, conventional wines employ dozens of chemicals to increase their appeal to a wider range of consumers. Because natural wine is made from grapes that are grown sustainably and organically, it provides a healthier option to conventional wine. In particular, Kalligeros mentioned the advantages for winemakers and the environment.
While conventional viticulture permits hundreds of plant production products (PPPs), including as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, common principles of organic viticulture prohibit the use of synthetic phytosanitary treatments.
Is organic wine beneficial to health?
Many of the health benefits of natural wine, according to experts, are anecdotal and unsupported by enough data. However, certain people—such as those who are sensitive to ingredients like sulfites—might benefit more from going natural than conventional.
In addition to refraining from pesticides when cultivating the vines, natural winemaking also means avoiding additives in the winemaking process itself.
Conventional wine may have up to 49 additives; in the USA, this number can reach 70 or higher. In the EU, 35 additives can be added to organic wines during the vinification process, as these wines do not use pesticides in their growing. This is what ultimately sets natural wine apart: no additions are permitted, with the possible exception of a small amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in some circumstances.
Is wine made naturally less sulfite-based?
Sulfites are chemical substances that are added to other foods and beverages as a preservative and to preserve color. They are naturally found in foods like cereals and dried fruits.
Sulfite residues in wine and food are known to cause negative reactions in many people. Roughly one out of every 100 Americans, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is sulfite sensitive.
Studies on sulfite allergies in wine and other alcoholic beverages have been conducted. Further study is still required, though, to determine whether wine causes “sulfite headaches.”
Is it true that natural wine causes hangovers?
Anecdotal evidence has connected histamines, sulfites, and tannins to hangovers and wine headaches.
The difference in how you feel the next day between natural and conventional wine may not be significant, depending on your consumption patterns.
However, you might wish to go from red to white if you frequently get headaches from wine.
Quercetin, a form of flavanol found in red wine that interferes with the metabolism of alcohol and may be the cause of headaches in certain individuals.