Natural wine; made from organic grapes that are free from additives like commercial yeasts, powdered tannins and colourants. Instead of artificial manipulations, natural winemakers rely on the gifts of nature (adequate sun and rain and healthy soil) to impart flavour, structure, and the other necessary components of a delicious bottle that is perfect for any occasion.
While it’s difficult to pin down what makes natural wine so delicious, guilt-free consumption certainly doesn’t hurt our environment.
Natural winemaking isn’t a silver bullet remedy. It is still beholden to a supply chain that negatively impacts the environment, but it represents a shift toward more sustainable and ecologically-minded practices that take the overall health of a vineyard—and your health—into consideration. This philosophy starts from the ground up, literally at the level of the soil.
Soil health is integral to sustainable food production. Healthy soil allows beneficial microbes to flourish, makes farms more resilient to both droughts and heavy rainfall, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and minimizes erosion, to name a few benefits.
Natural winemaking supports these aims through a variety of different measures.
First, natural winemaking bans the use of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, which seep into the soil and groundwater, threatening biodiversity and upsetting nature’s delicate balance. Synthetic fertilizers are especially dangerous, as they release nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more potent than carbon.
Natural winemakers can also maintain soil health by refraining from using heavy equipment like tractors. While time-saving and cost-effective, these machines compact the soil, killing life within it, and also potentially damaging the vines and surrounding plants. Hand-harvesting grapes are also associated with reduced fuel costs and carbon emissions, as well as the improved vine and soil health.
Many natural winemakers embrace “dry farming” to shrink their environmental footprint and enhance the taste of their wines. This is a practice whereby winemakers will choose not to irrigate their vineyards, relying only on rain.
All in all, natural wine is a celebration of living things. Choosing to drink sustainable wine, means you’re supporting independent farmers who work outside dominant food production systems. You’re also advocating for more transparency and accountability, factors that make it easier for consumers to make informed choices. Looking to do your part for the environment? Check out our eco collection on IRYNE today!