Natural wine

Natural wine

Natural wine is wine made with minimal chemical and technological intervention in growing grapes and making them into wine. The term is used to distinguish such wine from organic wine. Organic wine is organic in the sense of having been produced made from organically grown grapes, but may be subject to chemical and physical manipulation in the winemaking process.[1]



In an ideal natural wine, nothing is added and nothing is taken away from the grapes, must or wine. A natural wine may include some or all of the following features:

  • Organically or biodynamically grown grapes, with or without certification.
  • Dry-farmed, low-yielding vineyards.
  • Hand-picked.
  • No added sugars, no foreign yeasts, no foreign bacteria.
  • No adjustments for acidity.
  • No additives for color, mouth-feel, minerality, etc.
  • No external flavor additives, including those derived from new oak barrels, staves, chips, or liquid extract.
  • Minimal or no fining or filtration.
  • No heavy manipulation, such as micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, spinning cone, cryoextraction.
  • Minimal or no added sulphites aka sulfites.


Natural wine is an umbrella term for producers who are defined more by what they leave out of their processes at many different points, than by what they put in. Natural wine is the physical manifestation of the world view of some producers, whereas for others it is a reaction against the excesses of 20th Century chemical farming and additive based winemaking. Natural wine producers are interested in the purity of their work rather than in the physical perfection of the result.

Key individuals

The following people were or are particularly instrumental in the inspiration, production or communication of contemporary natural wine:

  • Rudolf Steiner, curator of biodynamics.
  • Maria Thun, author of the biodynamic calendar.
  • Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese philosopher of farming.
  • Jules Chauvet, developer of carbonic maceration fermentation, sulphite free winemaking, and author.
  • Claude Bourguignon, French agricultural scientist, consultant and author.
  • Nicolas Joly, wine producer, head of Renaissance des Appellations Controlees, and spokesman for biodynamics.
  • Marcel Lapierre, wine producer, mentor, and early adopter of low to no sulphite winemaking.
  • Alice Feiring, American writer.
  • Josko Gravner, Italian wine producer and mentor.


"Natural wine" is considered by critics to be a misleading term. There is no established certification body and the term has no legal status. Winemakers who describe themselves (or are described by others) as "natural" often differ in what they consider to be an acceptable level of intervention. The term might also confuse consumers into assuming that the wine is organically grown.


  1. ^ Breton, Félicien: Organic wines


See also

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