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Copy of What is Natural Wine?

Natural Wine -

We've been hearing this term "Natural Wine" being thrown around a lot in recent days/months/years, and it begs the question, what exactly is natural wine?

The term "natural wine" has no set definition. It refers more so, to an ancient set of viticulture (grape growing) and winemaking practices and philosophies, put in place long before the development of the many modern technologies that we use to grow and produce our wines today. When considering whether or not a wine should be considered "natural" vs "conventional" you have to look at the two sides of the wine's full development, and ask two basic questions:

1.) How the grapes are grown(viticulture)? 

Natural wines use grapes that are grown using organic or biodynamic farming practices which are hand picked and fermented only using native yeasts found only on the vine. The wine is typically bottled without filtering or fining with little to no sulphur.

2.) What is added during the winemaking(enology)?

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Now that we have the definition out the way we can get into what all of this means. The vast majority of wine you will find in your local shops do not practice organic or biodynamic farming methods. And even if they do, they typically are still high intervention wines that use added yeasts to manufacture flavors. 

What is Organic and Biodynamic Farming?

Organic farming excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. The legal definition of organic wine varies from country to country - the primary difference relates to the use (or non use) of preservatives during the wine making process. Organic farming comes with a variety of standards that must be met in order to be certified as organic. The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association defines Biodynamic Farming as “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition. Biodynamic farming takes other factors into account when farming, such as the lunar calendar and astrology. Biodynamic farming is more about the entire lifeblood of a vineyard - other plants, insects, animals - not just the grapes.

What is an Orange Wine?

An orange wine is simply a white wine made like red wine. The important thing to remember with "Orange Wine" is the term "Skin Contact". Orange Wine gets its color from the amount of time the juice ferments with the skin. Depending on duration of contact time - production could bring out a lighter yellow color or a more vibrant orange color. The longer the skin contact the more red wine characteristics you're going to see from these white wine grapes. Longer contact will yield more tannin, more bold flavors, all while keeping the acidity of your white grape wines! 

Whats with all the colors?

Without intervention, this is the color wine should be. Without intervention from manufacturers adding coloring agents and additives, you're getting the true color of the grape - which can become more complex when you have a blend. The color of wine mainly comes from the color of the drupe of that grape. Since pigments are in the center of the grape drupe, not in the juice, the color will depend a lot on how long the must (the crushed grapes) is in contact with the skins - a process called "maceration".  Depending on how long the skin is in contact with the juice, you can have colors ranging from a bright yellow to a deep orange. 

What is a "pet-nat"?

Short for "Pétillan Naturel" is simply the old fashioned or "Méthode Ancestrale" (French for Ancestral Method) way of making sparkling wine. Bottling the wine prior to fermentation completion produces carbon dioxide from the natural sugars in the grapes. This natural process gives the wine a fizzy, sweet, refreshing taste. Perfect for a hot summers day but acceptable for any occasion. Most Pét-Nat producers work their vineyards according to Organic or Biodynamic Farming methods.  

What is Carbonic Maceration?