What is Natural Wine?
Natural wine is wine that is made with respect for the natural systems in which they are produced. These are wines made with love and care, interfered with as little as possible as they undergo their journey from the vineyard into the glass. Just a gentle, guiding hand is applied occasionally, allowing them to fully express themselves. Winemakers follow the mantra of nothing added, nothing taken away - perhaps just a small amount of preservative at bottling to help them age and settle into themselves, but that’s it.
In contrast, conventionally produced wines in Australia may have any of up to 55 permitted additives, many of which are known allergens. They are also often filtered or fined, processes which remove many of the most beneficial compounds in wines, including antioxidants, and leave trace amounts of the animal proteins used in the fining process. And, perhaps the most commonly used preservative in winemaking, sulphur dioxide, which is typically used in far greater quantities in conventional wines than in natural wines, plays a significant role in the hangovers that many people experience after consuming even just a small amount of wine. You can read more about that here.
Perhaps the most important thing about natural wine, though, is what it contributes culturally. These are authentic wines. Their makers are uncurbed by the ideals of homogeneity and conformity that characterise the industrial paradigm; rather they are a celebration of the time and place from which they originate. It’s an 8000 year-old art form that is carried on today and is possibly one of the longest continuous cultural activities maintained by humans.