No chemicals, no additives and wild yeasts. This is wine 'au natural' Read MoreShow Less
You might think all wine is 'natural', and there are certainly some producers who'd be offended to hear you call their wines 'unnatural' because they don't meet the criteria of this burgeoning wine movement, but the term has emerged as the best label for wines made with less intervention in the vineyard and the winery.
The people who make these wines are simply trying to let grapes follow their 'natural' course; they ripen, they're picked, naturally occuring yeasts start to ferment the sugar in the grapes as they break down, turning the sweet juice into alcoholic wine. Intervention comes in many forms, from excessive use of artificial pesticides (resolved by better vineyard management), to the addition of a multitude of chemical additives to the wine, bolstering tannin, acidity, colour when not deemed perfect (not required when the wine is made well and allowed to express itself on its own terms), to bottling the wine with high levels of Sulphur Dioxide to guarantee the wine isn't faulty when it's opened.
It's this last one that is most commonly identified with Natural Wine; spurred on in part by the questionable belief that high levels of sulphites in wine are giving people headaches (might just be drinking too much wine...), but nowadays, often simply preferred by many to wines that have had their character compressed by unnecessarily high levels of Sulphur. When the farming and winemaking are observant and sensible, lots of added sulphur just isn't necessary.
The results can be wild, often bewilderingly so but when it's done right, this might be the truest expression of grape and terroir a winemaker can achieve.