You may have heard about natural wines - also known as raw wines - but do you know what they're all about? Natural wine is made with minimal intervention from the winemaker, but it's way more than that. It's a philosophy of winemaking. The idea is to come back to our roots, making wine as our ancestors did, without using chemicals or additives, in harmony with nature and the vineyards' environment through organic or biodynamic agriculture.
There is hard work in the vineyard to make excellent natural wine. The grapes need to be of the utmost quality. This is where the joint collaboration between the farmers, the vineyard manager, and the winemaker really shines. The vineyards are chosen for their peculiarity, and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used. Ancient techniques of vineyard care and the minimum use of sulfur prevent diseases. Proper use of nature for the purpose of wine of the highest quality. The wine is not made with the help of any added yeast but rather that of the grape, so the care of the grapes must be splendid, healthy, harvested at the right time, and their transport and processing must be carried out with the utmost cleanliness and organization.
After the fermentation, the wine stays in deposits that don't allow air in to prevent oxidation. Probably the main characteristic of natural wines is that no sulfites are added. Sulfites are used in winemaking to stabilize the wine and prevent bacteria from developing. However, sulfites are also present in the grapes. Thus, there will always be traces in the wine. This is something to consider, as some people are allergic to sulfites - no natural wine is 100% "without sulfites". Because these wines are not clarified or filtered, they look cloudy, and there will be sediment on the bottom of the bottle. Therefore, there will not be sugar or acidity corrections either.
Most winemakers choose to make natural wines with local grapes, following their philosophy of preserving nature and the environment. The result is an interesting, complex wine, both in aromas and flavors. They are unique, and their nuances are very different from conventional wines. Some say they are an acquired taste, but they're worth trying. They display the authentic expression of the grape varietal, the terroir, the growers, and the winemaker's expertise.
In summary, natural wine is made with healthy grapes, without additives, with wild yeasts, and will not need to be subjected to any alteration or additive. Their elaboration is handmade, complicated, and personal.