Eric Asimov on “Natural Winemaking”

It’s a hot-button topic in the world of wine, that’s for sure, and it goes by many names; non-interventionism, minimum impact, or perhaps the most familiar: natural. Natural Winemaking is a subject that comes up often these days, and it appears to be a rather polarizing one. But perhaps the real conundrum is the seeming lack of a definition. Just what is “natural winemaking?”

Eric Asimov, on his blog The Pour, has just published a really interesting article on exactly this subject, and if this is a topic of interest to you, I heartily recommend you check it out. And perhaps even more fascinating is the comment feed; proof for sure of just how ticklish the issue is.

Give it a read, read the comments, maybe post some thoughts of your own, and please feel free to share some perspective here as well. Our own Paul Draper makes an appearance in the article, and Ridge has of course weighed in on innumerable variations of the subject over our many decades of our engagement with the land, and the practice of winemaking.

You can read Eric’s full article here.

Categories: Paul Draper, Press Reviews, Vineyards and Oenology, Wine Blogs, Winemaking

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1 reply

  1. The problem I have with the term “natural wines” is that the most vocal proponents approach it as a fundamentalist religion. If the goal was making the best wine, then minimal impact and minimal intervention are natural byproducts of that approach. But no, using SO2 in the winery is forbidden. So, according to Alice Feiring’s definition, Ridge doesn’t make natural wine. It doesn’t matter that SO2 is a natural byproduct of fermentation. It doesn’t matter that Ridge uses a carefully researched minimal amount aimed at producing the best wine possible. It also doesn’t matter that many of the highly lauded French “natural wine” producers don’t even pretend to be using grapes farmed with anything close to organic or minimal impact practices. To them, heavy chemical use in the vineyard is both necessary and irrelevant – it’s non-intervention in the winery that makes a wine “natural”.

    Really, it’s the hypocritical absolutism that bugs me. They’ll excuse any exception to the “rules” that they feel necessary to make, then scoff at anyone else who makes similar but different exceptions. So, a winemaker who has the luxury of a water table that allows for dry farming will say dry farming is a requirement for the production of natural wines. It doesn’t matter if another grower, who doesn’t have that luxury, uses a drip system that actually exposes the vines to less water than the dry farmer’s vines.

    I read the WineBerzerkers thread Eric referenced. My impression is snobbery and ignorance are clouding a noble pursuit.

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