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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Natural" Wine vs. "Manipulated" Wine

There are a number of people in the wine biz talking up "natural wines." There's no real definition for it. It's not organic or biodynamic wine. It's about getting away from all the extra ingredients (and processes). Extra ingredients? Isn't it just grapes and yeast making alcohol,  maybe some sulfur, or a fining agent like egg whites?  Well, no. That's no more true today than believing Italian maidens still stomp the grapes.

I'm looking through the catalog from a local home winemaking shop. Their "Enhanced Winemaking Products Chart" lists:

Go-Ferm, DAP, Opti Red, Lallzyme EX, Tannin Complex, Flashgum R Liquide, and a host of other stuff.

These can be anything from yeast food to something that removes the sulfur aroma. There are additives and winemaking processes to reduce alcohol levels. That nice, deep color in that Cabernet--it's might be from Mega Purple.

The natural wine movement is about minimizing this intervention in winemaking. Not to argue the merits here because you can read elsewhere the justification for each side from winemakers, consumers, and the wine critics. I suppose it comes down to, do the ends justify the means? And most importantly, does the consumer care?