Natural wine, with its brassy, rock 'n' roll style, is attracting younger consumers. However, these wines are neither brand new or old news. Who are these rebels?
Do you avoid factory-farmed chicken? Do you only buy organic? Is rock music your jam—whether hard, country, or hybrid? You might be a fan (even if you don't know it yet) of the French group The Inspector Cluzo. These farming rock musicians operate out of southwest France in Landes, south of Bordeaux. They advocate a return to nature. The same impulse is driving a growing number of newly minted vineyard owners. Rather than adopting a production-centered farming model, they are daring to manufacture wine without any added sulfites. In other words, their vines are naked. To help get the word out about their endeavor, they are creating rock groups, making movies, and writing books. Today, a revolution is sweeping through the wine industry.
A hip new trend
Natural wine is the latest trend in viticulture. An entire generation of young, trendy thirty-somethings is skipping traditional channels completely in favor of trade shows to find out more. These natural wine apostles have a lot in common with advocates of pesticide-free vegetables and healthy eating habits. While they are sometimes criticized and dismissed as outliers, they nevertheless represent the cutting edge of the wine industry.
So, what do they want? Champions of natural wine are all about carefully tended vineyards that are never treated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Their goal is to do away with additives entirely, while working with an eye to equity and craftsmanship. Natural wine producers are seeking to create an entirely new model. Young wine-growers are buying up old vineyards and applying new methods. Natural wine is somewhat of a thorn in the side of the wine industry. These rebellious wines now boast their own union and definition: "Wines that express a terroir naturally." In addition, the phrase "sulfite-free, naturally grown wine" is now allowed on the labels of French wine. It's official! Of course, these wines are organic by definition.