What is Natural wine? The short answer is – there’s no universal legal definition... which creates confusion. The slightly longer answer is – minimal intervention wine, raw wine or lo-fi wine.
The general standards producers are obligated to adhere to are:
- Grapes must be farmed organically and/or biodynamically. (No poisons or chemicals in the vineyard).
- Grapes must be hand-harvested.
- No added yeasts, only naturally present yeast (sometimes called “wild” / “indigenous” / “sauvage”).
- No other additives, except low levels of sulfites (30-50 milligrams of sulphur dioxide per litre in the wine is acceptable).
- No heavy-manipulation or technology in winemaking process (such as reverse osmosis, cryo-extraction, spinning cone, etc.).
- No sterile filtration or pasteurisation.
- Usually not fined or filtered.
If you don't know what some of these things are don't sweat it, we'll delve into them down the track. For now we'll focus on the final product – some of the wines are really different, funky and unusual while others are hard to distinguish from more 'conventional' wines. We think they’re awesome!
“There is a fundamental point when you start drinking natural when it becomes hard to go back to the wines you used to enjoy. From there it becomes one way traffic. That has helped me navigate my way through the wine universe for a few years now and finding new expressions is the real joy.” – Wayne Ahrens / Smallfry Wines
Wine is simply fermented grape juice. There’s a whole lot more that goes into creating the juice you casually sip from a glass, but the process of converting sugars into alcohol is the beautiful by-product of nature doing its thing. And when paired with an experienced vigneron (a person who grows grapes for winemaking) or a vintner (someone who makes wine), the results can be surprising and amazing.
In the world of natural wines, the farming practice is organic or bio-dynamic and the wine making process is low-intervention or made with no additives (you’d be surprised at what can be added to conventional wines!).
With very small production quantities, the wines we sell are ever-changing. Established on the belief that less is best, we support farmers and wine makers who don’t impose a preconceived taste on their wines but look to be surprised by what nature gives them; using creativity, a combination of traditional and modern techniques and minimal intervention to preserve the land and create wines representative of their time and place. They are different with every vintage.
The wines we showcase are a kick back to our past – to the way things were done before our busy, throw-away, single use society. A time when quality, craftsmanship and ethical practice meant something. They are an acknowledgment of the importance of our history and where we came from, while also being progressive and steering away from unsustainable conventional practices. Our wines are an ode to days gone by, reimagined in a contemporary way.
Wine connects people, it brings them together; over a meal or to celebrate a special occasion or just because you had ‘one of those’ days and want to unwind. Or better yet because you had an awesome day and want to keep the enjoyment going. Unfortunately conventional wine has a huge detrimental impact on the environment. Alternatively, Natural wine is the creative outcome of nature and people’s ingenuity working harmoniously together. The wines we share are all from independent viticulturists and winemakers who practice regenerative farming without the use of pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers. And they are literally changing the world (more on this to come - this is a big story that we'll keep covering). And we think natural wines taste way better and in our experience don't leave you with the nasty headache the next day.
Enjoy the natural way of doing things. Cheers :)