What is Natural Wine?

There is no universal definition, as there are no standards, no labeling and no regulation of the natural wine category. But here is our definition: a natural wine is a wine made with the least possible use of chemicals, additives and technological tricks. That includes chemicals in the field, such as pesticides, as well as things like designer yeast, sulfur or any of the 100 allowable additives that are legally permitted in wine.

The EU permits only 57 additives. Purely natural wine, we think, is made of grape juice and little else. Which is why all of the wines we work with at Rock Juice are farmed organically or biodynamically, either certified or verified practicing, use only native yeast, and contain no additives other than a bit of sulfur (<50ppm or less).

Why should you care?

Wine is an agricultural product, subject to processing and manipulation just like processed food. Grapes are in the top three most sprayed crops, so ensuring that the grapes going into your wine is really important. There are nearly 100 additives allowed in wine, including GMO yeast and animal-derived ingredients, and a few that require a hazmat suit to administer. And levels of sulfur, a preservative and potent allergen, vary wildly – which is problematic not only if you are sensitive to sulfur, but also because it is depletes our stores of glutathione, an important antioxidant our bodies use to detoxify and process the alcohol in wine.

If you enjoy wine and care about what you put in your body, you need to know about natural wine. Unfortunately, without ingredient listings or regulation of the term “natural’ as it relates to wine, it is nearly impossible for consumers to know what they’re getting in the glass. Any producer can call himself natural. Whether or not he or she is comes down to integrity. Natural wine associations in Europe are attempting to rectify the situation with quality charters. There is less of an organized effort here in the U.S. but a few small but mighty individuals are leading the charge for developing a common definition and bringing transparency to wine. In the meantime, Rock Juice is here to help. We do our homework to understand how each wine is produced, getting the facts directly from the producer or the importer, to bring you a great selection of real, unadulterated wines.

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