Why 'Natural' Wine?
by Kristen Knowles
I was never really taken with wine. To me, it always just tasted rather average - something I drank because that’s what sophisticated people drink. I never was “into” wine, or even if I claimed to be, I didn’t really mean it, deep down in my soul. If I’m being totally honest, I never really looked forward to a glass, which now seems laughably ridiculous, seeing as it now occupies so much of my time.
I had heard rumblings from the US (my home country) about natural wine, but didn’t really give it much thought until we were on our honeymoon in 2017. Neil and I went to Copenhagen and had this wonderful meal with matched wine courses, and it changed our lives. The wines were all natural. They tasted like nothing I’d ever had before: vibrant, exciting, fun. We loved them, and chatted during our meal about starting up a wine business. Then, we promptly went back to our daily lives and didn’t really think about it again.
A year later, Neil took me on a surprise trip to Prague, where we attended a natural wine fair. These were our first natural wines since our honeymoon, and the difference was again so noticeable. These wines taste different, lively. They don’t taste like wines in the supermarket, or even from the bottle shop. It’s like wine from another planet. A better planet, where wine tastes good, like ridiculously good, like something you want to drink more of, and can’t wait to drink again. For the first time in our lives, wine was delicious.
There are a lot of great articles and essays (like this one) that talk about the merits of natural wines, but if you don’t want to read them, let me sum them up for you:
- They have no additives, like chemical filtration (sulfites), which...
- ... maybe make you less likely to have a hangover. I say maybe, because there is still some debate about this issue, but we definitely have fewer, weaker hangovers these days - and it's not for lack of trying.
- The grapes are grown by small-scale farmers using sustainable and responsible farming practices...
- ... and are often organic and/or biodynamic as well.
- For me, the best and most important part is that they are delicious. Hands down, they just taste better than anything I've ever tasted before.
Admittedly, there are many “conventional” wines that taste nice, and we won’t throw any shade at you for liking them. We sometimes like them, too - we love wine, but that doesn't mean we are snobs about it! Also, not every natural wine is knee-bucklingly delicious - just because a wine is natural doesn’t automatically make it a masterpiece. But the wonderful variety of selection available in the natural-wine-world makes drinking more fun. Natural wines can range from pretty conventional, not differing much in flavour from the more familiar stuff, all the way to mind-bending oddities, like apple, raspberry or grapefruit. The choice is yours.
We are so excited to bring natural wines to our corner of the world in Scotland. The producers and wines we are working with are wines we love and believe in - we hope you love them, too!