The heated debate on “what is natural wine” which has continued for years now often risks remaining an echo chamber between the most nerdy fans and putting an undue strain on the patience of the rest of the wine world. All this without thinking of the confusion that this debate creates for the average consumer, who maybe does not go to natural wine fairs, but who now, for fear of seeming ignorant, does not ask questions about the productive aspect of wines and relies on an expert guide or simply his or her own taste and wallet. In short, the gap between the reality of things and the spread of information and opinions is as wide as it has ever been.
We’ve reached a stage where overseas there’s a trend for “funky wines” where the stinkier the wine is the better. Having an imperfection or defect makes it cool and original! We assure you, this is not where we wanted to get …
Natural wine is likely to be engulfed by its own success, especially if the parameters that define it are not clear. And we can’t leave it at that. These parameters must be guaranteed to their full potential and with the utmost rigor.
Some argue that in deciding whether a winemaker can be considered natural or not, it should be another winemaker to do so. Another winemaker with more experience or credibility perhaps? As we see it, this is not a trustworthy method because it leaves open the possibility of human emotions interfering, of corruption, jealousy or favouritism. In every sector, there is an impartial body responsible for quality control. Why should the winemakers be any different and be able to objectively judge another colleague? Judging the work of a student or an artist is certainly not for another student or another artist, but there are professors and art critics for this.
Maybe we will lose some of the poetry; we will lose the familiar, friendly approach that hard-core natural wine aficionados like so much. In our opinion, relying on a neutral and impartial expert is the only way to keep scammers away, to maintain the values of our association and have integrity when facing the outside world. Only in this way can we remain afloat even when the euphoria of the natural wine trend has passed.
It is an entirely uphill road, improving the control system, it is part of the ongoing process towards good, clean natural wine; but we want to follow it!
To read the previous editions of the VinNatur Magazine, click here.