What are Natural Wines? And Grape Free Natural Wines
What is Natural Wine?
A natural wine is typically defined as using simplified wine making methods, usually without the use of pesticides, chemicals or herbicides and with few or no additives. Although there is no uniform definition of a natural wine, leaving openness for wine makers.
Some approaches to natural wine leave the wine unfiltered which results in a cloudier, yeastier and funky taste.
Did you know that the U.S. allows wineries to include over 60 additives to their processes that they don't have to disclose? Wineries often add in things like coloring, sugar, acid, animal products, clay, grape concentrates like Mega Purple (to make wine sweeter, smooth out off flavors and add sweetness.
Natural Wine Styles for Beginners
Our top recommendations for natural wine are Orange wine, Glou-Glou, Pét-Nat, Piquette, Amphora Wine and Mead!
- Orange Wine - is a wine where the grapes are left in contact with the seeds and skins during ferementation creating a deep-orange-hued wine. Often feremented in ceramic or cement. Try this fun Orange Wine.
- Glou-Glou - a wine that is easily "chuggable" and seductively delicious, they tend to be young and fresh with typically ABV of 10%-12% Alc. Try this fun Glou-Glou wine.
- Pét-Nat - is simply a sparkling wine, where the bubbles are created by bottling the wine during the ferementation, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars. This typically makes the style a low sugar wine. The term Pét-Nat is an abbreviation for "pétillant naturel"—a French term that roughly translates to "naturally sparkling.".
- Piquette - is a wine that's created by adding water. Piquette is made with the leftover pulp, stems, and seeds from traditional wine-making, also known as the "pomace." This "pomace" is then feremented with water, and the end result is a snappy beverage that is low ABV and fizzy. Try this Piquette from Paso.
- Amphora Wine - a wine aged in a clay vessel (amphorae) during the fermentation process. Clay is porous, which allows oxygen into the wine during the ferementation creating a bigger "texture" with notes of nuttiness, earth and soft fruit. Clay vessels are typically kept underground and have been used for thousands of years in wine-making. Try this Spanish Amphora style wine.
- Mead (Honey Wine) - alcohol made with honey, water and yeast. Mead-makers are typically hyper-focused on flavor and using the highest quality ingredients. Mead is incredibly versatile and can contain fruit, peppers or spices for different flavor profiles. Mead can be dry or sweet, and typically contains a small amount of sulfites. Try an award-winning mead.
What is a Natural Fermentation?
Wine gets it's alcohol when yeast eats the sugars in the fermentation and convert it to alcohol. Typically the wine making process uses commercial yeast. A natural ferementation occurs when the wine maker leans on the natural occurring yeasts in the air and on the grapes to start the fermentation which can be volatile but create a beautiful wine.
Batch Mead is Making Clean Wine
At Batch Mead we make our meads (wine made from fermenting honey) with only honey, water and yeast! (and sometimes fruit). We use a small amount of sulfites so that bottles stay shelf stable, about 1/10th of what you find in wine. Even "natural wines" sometimes use added sulfites, and some are naturally occurring.
And guess what? We have something even healthier than natural wine…
It’s mead, alcohol made from fermenting honey.
The Natural Wine Craze
Just like mead’s outlived pretty much every alcoholic drink ever made, natural wine isn’t anything new. However, also just like mead, natural wine has reentered the spotlight.
It makes sense. More people care about what’s put into their food and drinks, as well as how these same items are produced.
In respect to the winemaking process, this means using grapes that haven’t been hit with pesticides or herbicides and then using native yeast to kick off fermentation. The only additives occasionally used are sulfites, which act as a preservative.
How Mead Proves Even Cleaner Than Natural Wine
Mead isn’t made with grapes (surprise, surprise). They might be added to certain batches for flavor, but the basis of mead is water, honey, and yeast. Honey comes from a natural source, water can be purified, and yeast is yeast (side note: natural yeast is literally everywhere.)
Combining these ingredients produces a beverage similar in caloric content to wine, but using only natural sugars and roughly 20% of the sulfites that are found in a commercial wine.
Give Mead a Try:
At Batch Mead, we believe in supporting the community that so eagerly supports us. Our small craft batches are the products of testing, testing, and more testing.
We like to experiment and pair different styles of locally-sourced honey with fresh mixes of fruits, spices, and herbs.
Experimentation is the only way you end up with a diverse menu that welcomes mead drinkers of all kinds. Whether it’s our sweet and creamy Strawberry Shortcake Mead, blackberry-heavy Midnight Mead, or something else we offer, our goal remains the same:
Share great mead with great people.