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This article was originally published in December 2023 – Available for free with any purchase on Wasted Talent Boutique.

Let’s not complicate things. For some of you readers who have never heard about natural wines before, and who are wondering why I’m writing about it in a magazine like Wasted Talent, the answers are simple:

  1. As Isabelle Legeron (French Master of Wine – yes, this qualification really does exist) would say: “While there is no universally accepted definition of natural wine, it is generally agreed to be wine that is farmed organically (biodynamically, using permaculture or the like) and made (or rather transformed) without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used, and ‘intervention’ in the naturally occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum. As such neither fining nor (tight) filtration are used. The result is a living wine – wholesome and full of naturally occurring microbiology.” In this sense, natural wines and mass-market wines belong to two very different worlds.
  1. While Alexei Obolensky, editor-in-chief of this magazine, has a guilty pleasure for orange wine, Josh Barrow, print editor, is falling for dark rosé, Robin Pailler, editor, would kill for “un petit rouge”, and I am always keen for a glass of pet nat, we are all very concerned about whether it is natural, similar, or not. But most importantly, we believe it is essential today to care about what you drink, as it’s not only about what makes you feel good but also what makes the world we live in a better place. End of story.


Does drinking natural wine really make our world a better place? Oui! I promise you it does and no, I’m not saying this because I’m an alcoholic. And for your information, I am not. Despite the fact that it tastes much better than anything else (by the way, forget about the prejudice that all natural wines smell or/and taste like farm, some do but others don’t. There are so many of them and that’s the beauty of it), the main reason is: environmental issues. 

I don’t know much about surfing, but I reckon everyone who surfs should love and care about nature. Guess what? It’s the same when you buy and drink wine. Be aware that many different chemicals authorised in agriculture can also be used in vineyards in order to make conventional wine. That’s already a no-go. Furthermore, the amount of sulphites allowed in a bottle of conventional wine is much higher than for a bottle of organic wine. 

Conventional wine: 1 – Your hangover: 0. 

Organic wine does not mean that sulphites are prohibited, however, but they are very limited. By the way, all wines naturally contain sulphites but I won’t go into detail on this subject. You might be lost by now if I talked about organic wine AND natural wine. 

To quote Isabelle again, “While all natural wines are organic wines, the reverse is not necessarily true. The terms ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ relate primarily to how the grapes are grown, rather than how the wines are made in the cellar. So it is possible, for example, to grow grapes biodynamically but then use additives in the cellar — we would not consider these to be natural wines. Happily, there are many organic and biodynamic wines that are also natural, and delicious to drink.”

So where should you start? 

In my humble opinion, I would say: stop buying wine from supermarkets. Go to your local wineshop, ask for recommendations. You might be afraid it’ll be too expensive but you may be surprised. And if it is indeed more expensive, remind yourself that you’re supporting someone who is doing their best to respect what you’ll have in your glass as well as planet earth. Natural winemakers are very brave as they do not let climate change discourage them, but they need our support. For example, as seasons are harder to define with every sudden drop and/or rise in temperature all year round, their vines are more fragile to diseases created by those changes, compared to conventional winemakers who use lots of chemicals to avoid those issues, instead of adapting and trying to fix this worldwide crisis. 

A few years ago, I was pruning (it consists of cutting back the vegetation, cutting off certain ‘branches’ to encourage new growth) for Jeanne Piollot who owns Domaine Dame Jeanne in Molesme (Burgundy). We were a team of twenty people. It took us a whole afternoon to do one portion of her vineyard by hand, resulting in more quality in the bottle. Meanwhile, at the top of the same hill, another conventional winemaker did his whole vineyard plot by himself with a tractor. No workforce so less money spent despite the consequent initial cost of the machine. Natural winemakers rather favour the precision as well as the quality of their work, whereas conventional winemakers will focus on time efficiency, yield performance, and financial results, at the expense of the wine itself.. This is another tiny example that can explain why it is essential to consciously choose how to spend your money. 

If you don’t know where to go, you can also download the Raisin app which will give you a list of all the bars, restaurants, and shops that sell natural wine, in various countries across the globe. Finally, even if you don’t know much about this delicious alcoholic beverage, you sure know what you like or don’t like, and that’s already enough for your server, wine retailer, etc., to guide you with.

Natural wine should be more than just a trend and as we say in French, “L’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec moderation”. Please drink responsibly but drink natural. 


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