4 main differences between natural and ordinary wine
Natural wine is a fairly new type of wine that we have known about for a number of years now. It seems to be here to stay, albeit with a limited group of people. Or is the wine actually not that new at all? Actually, no. Natural wine is made the way wine has been made for thousands of years: without all the chemical aids and tricks that are used to make wine today. Simply because they had not yet been discovered. So all wine used to be natural wine!
Difference between natural wine and 'ordinary' wine :
So what is the difference between natural wine and ordinary wine as we know it? Let's start at the beginning: with the growth of the grapes in the vineyard. In natural wine, no artificial fertilizer may be used to make the grapes grow better. Animal or vegetable manure is allowed. Chemical pesticides are also not allowed. However, it is allowed to combat diseases and unwanted insects in a natural way. This can be done by introducing a natural enemy of a certain insect species or by attracting them through planting around the vineyard or between the vines. So this is very similar to organic viticulture. That's right, because organically grown grapes are a requirement for natural wine.
The biggest differences are found in:
1. Manual harvest
Next, manual harvesting is mandatory. This is labor intensive and therefore more expensive than machine harvesting. The advantage, however, is that you can pick out grapes that are not ripe or affected. You can also remove slugs, beetles, etc. So you can work cleanly, which is very important for natural wine.
After harvesting, the grapes are pressed or crushed and the fermentation can begin. This is the conversion of sugar to alcohol. There should be no (or minimal) sulfitation. This is the use of sulfite to stabilize the wine and kill bacteria. It is also a preservative; the wine will keep longer. In ordinary wine, the grapes are sulphurized before fermentation to kill wild, grapevine yeasts. Sulfur also prevents oxidation, which gives wines a sherry-like aroma. Natural wines use a different means of fermentation: namely, wild yeasts.
3. Wild yeast
The fermentation process is carried out by means of wild yeasts. Normally, when making wine, nature is given a helping hand by adding cultivated yeast varieties (different for each grape variety) so that fermentation can get off to a good start. The wild yeasts found on the grape are then already killed. This is not allowed with natural wine. It is necessary to wait for the wild yeasts present on the grape itself to do their work. There is a small chance that something goes wrong and the wine gets an abnormal taste or smell. This is mainly due to the hygienic work in both the vineyard and the wine cellar, where the wine is made. After all, no sulfur is used to fight unwanted bacteria and fungi!