Thursday, June 17

Which natural wine to choose: labeled or free?

“Natural method wine”: strong demand

On the explanatory site of the label “Vin method nature”, a photo is extremely cute: a cozy nest in which huddle half a dozen fluffy young birds. One way of saying that this label is a new born but that it will grow quickly. Recognized by official bodies – the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) – in March, it spreads its small wings . At 1er September, it had 292 members and, at the beginning of November, its president, Jacques Carroget, also a winemaker at the Domaine de La Paonnerie in the Loire, confided that the symbolic bar of 500 members was now exceeded. Among them, we find wine producers but also wine merchants or simple sympathizers.

It must be said that there was a strong demand to be able to officially set a definition, together with precise specifications, of natural wine. From now on, it must be certified organic, resulting from manual harvesting, without additions or oenological modification during the vinification (no filtration, flash pasteurization, thermovinification or processes that end in “ion” and that the general public be careful not to go into depth). And of course, no added sulfur, or less than 30 mg / l (while a conventional dry white wine can contain up to 210 mg / l).

Enough to put an end to the artistic vagueness that surrounds this booming category of wine. The call to nature is a powerful marketing lever in agrifood production. However, without an administrative definition, anyone could claim to produce natural wine. We have thus seen the word “nature” and all its imaginable derivatives flourish on the shelves of supermarkets, for wines that have been crushed to the extreme, enriched for example with vitamin C to replace the use of sulfur. It was high time to lay down a formal framework.

The “Natural Method Wine” logo should therefore stamp a few hundred vintages by early 2021, when the 2020 vintage will be available for sale. The specifications being quite strict, the label should remain confidential, with a sales channel certainly restricted to specialized wine merchants. But, without guaranteeing that the wine is good, it certifies a low-intervention production and reassures consumers looking for an artisanal wine that respects the commitments of organic farming. Transparency, reliability, that is what we lacked in 2020. We will not shy away from the good news.

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