Recently I started writing about “natural wine” in an Australian industry publication because I wondering what it really was.
And the Australian and New Zealand health codes which control how wine is defined, labelled and sold has no category for natural wine. Which begs the question; is it an illegal product and is there some misinformation afoot.
Well regardless such wines are on sale around the world whether the regulatory authorities like it or not, and it is probably saying that innovation will always out-strip the establishment in any industry. And their first move is to stamp it out rather than entertain change.
The best example of this is glaringly obvious where the Portuguese cork lobby (52% of the world cork market and not as much as they would have you believe) has a firm hold on closure decisions in the major DOCG’s of Italy.
This slows the spread of screw caps due to regional prohibition on wines like Soave, Chianti or Barolo despite untreated corks’ deteriorating position when taking wine to the market.
Wikipedia already has the controversial aspects of natural wine explained though:
“The concept of ‘natural wine’ is extremely controversial, particularly in the English-speaking world. Many critics reject it as misleading. There is no established certification body and the term has no legal status. Winemakers who describe themselves (or are described by others) as ‘natural’ often differ in what they consider to be an acceptable level of intervention”, says the noted web-based authority.
Sounds like the position for organic and bio-dynamic producers who have to bludgeon their way in the commercial world against untold odds for the past 20 years; mainly due to different standards of recognition by authorities who regulate the production laws, and to a lesser extent in regimens where free markets apply.
A real innovator in natural wine sales is Natural Wine Selection Theory www.naturalwineselectiontheory.com , a collaborative experiment between four Australians – Sam Hughes, Anton Von Klopper, James Erskine and Tom Shobbrook.
The entire sales pitch hits entirely at the Milliennial drinking demographic (born after 1982) who just love wine to be easy to digest and demystified, simple to find and so uncomplicated when choice is involved (forget wine regions, sometimes varieties, brand means zilch).
And by the way their wine happened to be a natural wine but this was subtlely applied, and most probably went over the heads of the demographic for which it was intended. But the thin edge of the wedge was there, and a marketing ploy sits there for the future I reckon.
So with the Voice of the People Winter 2010 wine (it was red but hardly marketed as wine of any colour) the choice was one wine (because there was no other competition in the 23 litre, olive oil topped, single serve by tap, wine market).
In an ideal world this younger generation should just lo……oove the way this wine is sold to them, and gone viral on Twitter to friends so that it sold out instantly. Good luck to these guys who hopefully have a 2011 edition even though they foreshadowed it was a one-off sales campaign.
It sounds like London’s first natural wine bar was Artisan and Vine which opened in 2009, and subsequently the New York Times ran a story on the chic natural wine bars around the globe last year; http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/tippling-point-natural-wine-bars/.
By now these have expanded considerably as more natural wines are “conceived”.
Closer to home for the writer, the historically listed Moreton Rubber building in Brisbane, Queensland which houses 1889 Enoteca www.1889enoteca.com.au , Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year, 2010 winner, served Voice of the People red, under its olive oil layer and by-the-glass, with aplomb.
For more European natural wines http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a20101002.html
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