Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Eric Ifune
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3548
Joined: June 19th, 2009, 7:43 pm

Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#1 Post by Eric Ifune » October 23rd, 2019, 4:14 pm

How one of the icons of "natural wine" uses technology.
https://wineanorak.com/2019/10/23/using ... mI36nJUACY

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 19019
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#2 Post by Alan Rath » October 23rd, 2019, 4:56 pm

Really interesting, thanks!
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Anton D
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 30709
Joined: October 17th, 2013, 11:25 am
Location: Chico, CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#3 Post by Anton D » October 23rd, 2019, 5:51 pm

New information, to me!

Thank you!
Anton Dotson

What is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with infinite artfulness, the fine red wine of Shiraz into urine?

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3632
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#4 Post by Wes Barton » October 23rd, 2019, 7:44 pm

The main bacteria they're talking about are the three species of lactic acid bacteria. Here's a good overview: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/ ... e-spoilage
ITB - Useless lackey

"I've acquired enough wine to seduce an elephant." - Jennifer Robin

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 8071
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#5 Post by GregT » October 23rd, 2019, 8:12 pm

Are they using any knowledge that has been written down? Or are they just using what has been handed down as an oral tradition? If the first, they're using technology.

And are they selling their wine overseas?

There's technology in the building of boats, the use of a sexton, and the realization that the world is round.

So whatever "natural" is, if it isn't something delivered by the Martians, technology is OK.
G . T a t a r

[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3632
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#6 Post by Wes Barton » October 24th, 2019, 1:43 am

The cynical way to put it would be they're using a microscope to monitor bacterial population for when they need to intervene with a small dose of SO2 instead of just added that small dose as a preventative. neener

There are a few points of worry, which are known, and red flags you can watch for, when something isn't going quite right. Funny that they take near complete juice and finish in barrel. That's a fairly vulnerable point in an environment likely to introduce a lot of new bacteria. But, I'm sure that's fine most of the time since the yeast just got a turbo boost of sugar and oxygen to kick up a gear and out-compete. Some winemakers would never do that, though. Adding 20 ppm SO2 should make that fairly safe.
ITB - Useless lackey

"I've acquired enough wine to seduce an elephant." - Jennifer Robin

User avatar
aaronfullen
Posts: 107
Joined: January 27th, 2017, 10:34 am
Location: Atlantaish

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#7 Post by aaronfullen » October 24th, 2019, 5:44 am

This part strikes me as a little too natural...

From the article:

"and the resulting juice goes back into the fat for an alcoholic fermentation"

I was wondering why a couple glasses of wine is beginning to feel like more than a couple as I get older.

-af

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 19313
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#8 Post by Brian Tuite » October 24th, 2019, 5:56 am

Alan Rath wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 4:56 pm
Really interesting, thanks!
How did I know you’ld like this?
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2019 WOTY...

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6634
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#9 Post by David Glasser » October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am

Cool article, that was fun and well done.

The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.

User avatar
Chris Seiber
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 8713
Joined: April 28th, 2010, 3:22 pm
Location: Newport Beach, CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#10 Post by Chris Seiber » October 24th, 2019, 7:36 am

Reminds me of Ali G talking to the panel of experts about technology.

Ali G: There is a bloke from round my hood, Staines, called Rainbow Jeremy, who reject everything to do with science.
He just chill at home, he smoke his own home-grown, and check this - he don't have a telly.
I ain't shi**ing you.
He don't have a telly.

Expert: He lives in a house, though.
That house is a product of technology.

Ali G: Nah, he’s got no technology. Seriously, you can check his website.

User avatar
Michael O'Brien
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 909
Joined: August 21st, 2009, 8:27 am
Location: Plano, TX

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#11 Post by Michael O'Brien » October 24th, 2019, 7:46 am

I find the whole category "Natural" wines confusing. As far as I know, there is no formal definition so I have no clue what "Natural" wine is. Is it anything but a marketing term to attract Millennials to wine? From the reading I have done, there is a wide disparity in the dos and donts of making a wine that is claimed to be "Natural." Put me in the skeptical category on this one.
PlanoWino

Doug Schulman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5152
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 9:42 am
Location: MA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#12 Post by Doug Schulman » October 24th, 2019, 7:48 am

As I've said too many times here, I think the whole "natural wine" thing is pretty silly. That said, the use of technology here seems totally fitting with the whole approach. It's being used to try to avoid doing or adding things to the wine.
David Glasser wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am
The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.
I agree about a step in the right direction. As for the movement rejecting Lapierre for doing something like this, I doubt it will happen. I don't say that because I expect "natural" advocates to be rational, but rather because Lapierre is one of the most notable producers they can point to who generally makes very good, sound wines.
ITB - retail sales and education

User avatar
G. Greenbaum
Posts: 2273
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 7:45 am
Location: Up in here

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#13 Post by G. Greenbaum » October 24th, 2019, 8:45 am

David Glasser wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am
Cool article, that was fun and well done.

The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.
Marcel Lapierre was very pragmatic in his practice, which clearly has had an influence on Matthieu. The new generation has tools their predecessors didn't. The idea of disqualifying is kind of funny though. What is he disqualified from? When it comes to Lapierre's wines qualifiers/categories are non essential. Either you like the style or you don't. All the other adjectives are useless. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for the article Eric.
Regards,
Gregg


ITB

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6634
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#14 Post by David Glasser » October 24th, 2019, 10:05 am

G. Greenbaum wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 8:45 am
David Glasser wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am
Cool article, that was fun and well done.

The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.
Marcel Lapierre was very pragmatic in his practice, which clearly has had an influence on Matthieu. The new generation has tools their predecessors didn't. The idea of disqualifying is kind of funny though. What is he disqualified from? When it comes to Lapierre's wines qualifiers/categories are non essential. Either you like the style or you don't. All the other adjectives are useless. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for the article Eric.

That was sort of/part of my point Gregg, perhaps not clearly expressed: what would he be disqualified from? The definition of natural wine is squishy and less important than the quality of what’s in the bottle.

User avatar
Hank Victor
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 476
Joined: July 21st, 2018, 8:36 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#15 Post by Hank Victor » October 24th, 2019, 10:23 am

Michael O'Brien wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 7:46 am
I find the whole category "Natural" wines confusing. As far as I know, there is no formal definition so I have no clue what "Natural" wine is. Is it anything but a marketing term to attract Millennials to wine? From the reading I have done, there is a wide disparity in the dos and donts of making a wine that is claimed to be "Natural." Put me in the skeptical category on this one.
No legal definition. The consensus between quality producers/importers/retailers/on-premise accounts is a bare minimum of organically farmed grapes, native yeast ferments, limited so2 additions. Jules Chauvet "the father of French Natural winemaking" died in 1989. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial so I don't think "natural" wine was born as a marketing term to attract younger drinkers.

Chamber Street Wine has a good write-up about Chauvet here.
https://www.chambersstwines.com/Article ... entifiques
- ITB
Take a chance, Columbus did..

"Two years away from being two years away”

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3632
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#16 Post by Wes Barton » October 24th, 2019, 12:06 pm

David Glasser wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am
Cool article, that was fun and well done.

The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.
That might be the idea.....or not. But, he's allowing potential bacterial activity, then limiting the impact by intervening with SO2. It's more like he's containing the level of bacterial spoilage within parameters that gives the wines a bit of "wild" character, as a stylistic attribute.

So, not sure what percentage of the wines he ends up "having to" intervene with a little SO2 (or if he adds some at bottling, and so forth), but if he's always adding some that way, it really is the same amount he could be adding as a preventative. Is a wine more natural if it seems more nature due to controlled spoilage?

Another point: many yeast strains produce SO2 in order to help compete. With a wild fermentation there might be a little more risk of not enough of that happening to stave off LAB (or maybe not). But, the amount of SO2 he'd need to add in a healthy ferm would be in the range of what could be there naturally. So would adding the same amount as a preventative. Of course, if you take a light handed approach, you'll learn some grapes are always problematic, requiring an intervention or preventative measure, and some are fine left alone.
ITB - Useless lackey

"I've acquired enough wine to seduce an elephant." - Jennifer Robin

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6634
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#17 Post by David Glasser » October 24th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Appreciate the real world perspective as always, Wes.

User avatar
Michael O'Brien
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 909
Joined: August 21st, 2009, 8:27 am
Location: Plano, TX

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#18 Post by Michael O'Brien » October 24th, 2019, 2:03 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 10:23 am
Michael O'Brien wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 7:46 am
I find the whole category "Natural" wines confusing. As far as I know, there is no formal definition so I have no clue what "Natural" wine is. Is it anything but a marketing term to attract Millennials to wine? From the reading I have done, there is a wide disparity in the dos and donts of making a wine that is claimed to be "Natural." Put me in the skeptical category on this one.
No legal definition. The consensus between quality producers/importers/retailers/on-premise accounts is a bare minimum of organically farmed grapes, native yeast ferments, limited so2 additions. Jules Chauvet "the father of French Natural winemaking" died in 1989. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial so I don't think "natural" wine was born as a marketing term to attract younger drinkers.

Chamber Street Wine has a good write-up about Chauvet here.
https://www.chambersstwines.com/Article ... entifiques
The term "natty" or "natural wine" is not one that I have seen used to describe wine in the 35 years I have been collecting. As I understand it, the natural wine movement began back in the '60s in the Beaujolais region with Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Charly Thevenet and Guy Breton. Over the decades I have enjoyed my share of organic, biodynamic, and what are also called "natural" wines, most of them from the old world. Maybe I have overlooked the term because it means little or nothing specific to me.

Having a millennial of my own, I can say that both terms mean something to millennials (at least all of my daughter's friends) that it does not mean to me. We are probably splitting hairs. At least since the 60s, there have been winemakers working to reduce intervention and return to the old ways of making wine. However marketing wines using the terms "natty" and "natural" seems to be a much more recent evolution in marketing. My experience with my millennial and her friends is that the term "natty" or "natural" when applied to wine is used primarily for marketing purposes and that millennials are the generation most focused on the terms. But most of them do not understand the degree of difference in intervention from producer to producer that market using the "natty" and/or "natural" terms as wine descriptors. To many millennials the terms "natty" and "natural" are synonymous with quality which of course is the marketing objective of the terms. Having tasted many of these wines at my daughter's insistence, I can safely say caveat emptor. That said, I can guide my daughter to wines that meet the criteria but don't rely on the terms to market them.
PlanoWino

User avatar
Hank Victor
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 476
Joined: July 21st, 2018, 8:36 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#19 Post by Hank Victor » October 24th, 2019, 2:45 pm

Michael O'Brien wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 2:03 pm
Hank Victor wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 10:23 am
Michael O'Brien wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 7:46 am
I find the whole category "Natural" wines confusing. As far as I know, there is no formal definition so I have no clue what "Natural" wine is. Is it anything but a marketing term to attract Millennials to wine? From the reading I have done, there is a wide disparity in the dos and donts of making a wine that is claimed to be "Natural." Put me in the skeptical category on this one.
No legal definition. The consensus between quality producers/importers/retailers/on-premise accounts is a bare minimum of organically farmed grapes, native yeast ferments, limited so2 additions. Jules Chauvet "the father of French Natural winemaking" died in 1989. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial so I don't think "natural" wine was born as a marketing term to attract younger drinkers.

Chamber Street Wine has a good write-up about Chauvet here.
https://www.chambersstwines.com/Article ... entifiques
The term "natty" or "natural wine" is not one that I have seen used to describe wine in the 35 years I have been collecting. As I understand it, the natural wine movement began back in the '60s in the Beaujolais region with Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Charly Thevenet and Guy Breton. Over the decades I have enjoyed my share of organic, biodynamic, and what are also called "natural" wines, most of them from the old world. Maybe I have overlooked the term because it means little or nothing specific to me.

Having a millennial of my own, I can say that both terms mean something to millennials (at least all of my daughter's friends) that it does not mean to me. We are probably splitting hairs. At least since the 60s, there have been winemakers working to reduce intervention and return to the old ways of making wine. However marketing wines using the terms "natty" and "natural" seems to be a much more recent evolution in marketing. My experience with my millennial and her friends is that the term "natty" or "natural" when applied to wine is used primarily for marketing purposes and that millennials are the generation most focused on the terms. But most of them do not understand the degree of difference in intervention from producer to producer that market using the "natty" and/or "natural" terms as wine descriptors. To many millennials the terms "natty" and "natural" are synonymous with quality which of course is the marketing objective of the terms. Having tasted many of these wines at my daughter's insistence, I can safely say caveat emptor. That said, I can guide my daughter to wines that meet the criteria but don't rely on the terms to market them.
Do you find this marketing push coming from producers? or perhaps retailers/restaurants/bars ? I would love to pinpoint the start of the marketing craze for natural wines. Was it a producer looking for market share? A geeky retailer? Maybe a sommelier looking for fresher wines to compliment his menu.
- ITB
Take a chance, Columbus did..

"Two years away from being two years away”

m. ristev
Posts: 688
Joined: October 10th, 2014, 3:57 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#20 Post by m. ristev » October 24th, 2019, 2:49 pm

i wonder who made the first ironic label? i would say the majority of natural wines that should be immediately poured down the sink usually have some terribly ill conceived label. octavin is a great example.
mајкл

User avatar
Marcu$ Stanley
Posts: 1116
Joined: November 1st, 2010, 3:31 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#21 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » October 27th, 2019, 5:01 pm

All "natural wine" marketing depends on consumers not really understanding how many technological choices are involved in winemaking and how much winemaking has been totally transformed by modern technology. Temperature control, stainless steel, modern mechanical crushers, automatic pumping over...the list goes on and on, you'd have to be an expert just to list all the technological choices made in winemaking from the selection and growing of the vines to maturation and bottling.

Just as in cooking it makes sense to distinguish processed fast food from great cuisine that respects and elevates the ingredients, but it doesn't make much sense to talk about cooking and preparing of food as a "natural" as opposed to a craft process.

User avatar
Gareth H
Posts: 17
Joined: October 7th, 2015, 4:55 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#22 Post by Gareth H » October 30th, 2019, 4:55 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
October 27th, 2019, 5:01 pm
All "natural wine" marketing depends on consumers not really understanding how many technological choices are involved in winemaking and how much winemaking has been totally transformed by modern technology. Temperature control, stainless steel, modern mechanical crushers, automatic pumping over...the list goes on and on, you'd have to be an expert just to list all the technological choices made in winemaking from the selection and growing of the vines to maturation and bottling.

Just as in cooking it makes sense to distinguish processed fast food from great cuisine that respects and elevates the ingredients, but it doesn't make much sense to talk about cooking and preparing of food as a "natural" as opposed to a craft process.
Pretty much this. The more I’ve learned about wine microbiology, the more I think that the distinction between destemming, throwing a cooling plate in a ferment, adding 1 g/L of acid or sprinkling a bit of SO2 at the crusher is arbitrary. It’s all manipulation of environmental conditions to encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms and discourage the growth of spoilage organisms. That’s the job of a winemaker.

Natural wine marketing is elevating oneself up on a pedestal and distancing yourself as much as possible from the peasantry of “conventional”, and with the other, pulling the wool over the consumer’s eyes.

The amount of gatekeeping I see from prominent personalities in this industry seems to bake that into the ideology for me. Alice Feiring is one that immediately comes to mind; there was a row involving her on Twitter last year about Aldi releasing a natural, orange wine. It couldn’t possibly be natural, and if it is, move the goalposts back, because it couldn’t possibly be economical at that scale. Turns out it was machine-harvested.

And there you have it. The movement was never about transparency of site or any such notion, it was always anti-technology and anti-big business. Notions I don’t totally disagree with mind you, but not at the expense of absolutely everything else. Wine is for everyone. And while I like a lot of natural wine, there’s a strong, pervasive element of superiority and deception inherent in the movement at the moment (specifically in the marketing of it), that is keeping me from ever meaningfully participating in it, at either the consuming or producing end.

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33628
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#23 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 30th, 2019, 5:09 am

Debates about natural wine are so 2009...
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

Nathan V.
Posts: 1525
Joined: November 9th, 2009, 11:47 am

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#24 Post by Nathan V. » October 30th, 2019, 6:36 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 5:09 am
Debates about natural wine are so 2009...
This. Or maybe even 2005. As the kids would say, "OK boomer".
ITB-ish.
V = V a n der g r i f t

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16873
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#25 Post by John Morris » October 30th, 2019, 1:53 pm

Eric Ifune wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 4:14 pm
How one of the icons of "natural wine" uses technology.
https://wineanorak.com/2019/10/23/using ... mI36nJUACY
It seems like a straw man argument to criticize someone for using a microscope to monitor what’s in the wine. If your goal (i.e., your definition of natural) is to limit additions to the wine (including commercial yeasts, nutrients, sulfur), then a microscope to see what’s happening in fermentation is perfectly fair. Same thing with lowering the temperature to arrest bacteria.

The number of winemakers who profess to use no technology is probably close to nil. That’s just a caricature of what natural wine is about. (FYI, I’m no great fan of natural or low sulfur wines.)
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16873
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#26 Post by John Morris » October 30th, 2019, 2:06 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 12:06 pm
David Glasser wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 6:12 am
Cool article, that was fun and well done.

The idea here is to reduce the risk of bacterial spoilage without use of additional sulfur where possible, and to minimize the amount of sulfur added when lowering the temperature doesn’t do the trick. That would appear consistent with the tenets of the "natural" wine movement, and a step in the right direction from simply refusing to add sulfur and hope for the best. I don’t know if this use of technology would be considered disqualifying by the (self-designated?) arbiters of the term. There don't appear to be well-defined objective criteria for what qualifies.
That might be the idea.....or not. But, he's allowing potential bacterial activity, then limiting the impact by intervening with SO2. It's more like he's containing the level of bacterial spoilage within parameters that gives the wines a bit of "wild" character, as a stylistic attribute.

So, not sure what percentage of the wines he ends up "having to" intervene with a little SO2 (or if he adds some at bottling, and so forth), but if he's always adding some that way, it really is the same amount he could be adding as a preventative. Is a wine more natural if it seems more nature due to controlled spoilage?

Another point: many yeast strains produce SO2 in order to help compete. With a wild fermentation there might be a little more risk of not enough of that happening to stave off LAB (or maybe not). But, the amount of SO2 he'd need to add in a healthy ferm would be in the range of what could be there naturally. So would adding the same amount as a preventative. Of course, if you take a light handed approach, you'll learn some grapes are always problematic, requiring an intervention or preventative measure, and some are fine left alone.
Very interesting points (as always), Wes. Thanks. I’ve had too many great wines over 30+ years made with sulfur — and too many flawed low-sulfur wines in the last decade — to be sympathetic to the sulfur puritans. Just toss a little in to be safe, i want to say.
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

Steve Slatcher
Posts: 261
Joined: July 24th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#27 Post by Steve Slatcher » October 31st, 2019, 2:09 am

John Morris wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 1:53 pm
It seems like a straw man argument to criticize someone for using a microscope to monitor what’s in the wine. If your goal (i.e., your definition of natural) is to limit additions to the wine (including commercial yeasts, nutrients, sulfur), then a microscope to see what’s happening in fermentation is perfectly fair. Same thing with lowering the temperature to arrest bacteria.
It's even more ridiculous in the case of the microscope, because that does not affect the wine. The small samples examined will not even be consumed. You may as well criticise the winemaker for using spectacles to look at the wine, or a pen to make notes.

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33628
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#28 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 31st, 2019, 3:48 am

Real winemakers only use pencil. ;)
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

User avatar
Tim Heaton
Posts: 1112
Joined: September 8th, 2011, 4:11 pm
Location: Castle Rock, Colorado or Piemonte

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#29 Post by Tim Heaton » October 31st, 2019, 5:30 am

Michael O'Brien wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 7:46 am
I find the whole category "Natural" wines confusing. As far as I know, there is no formal definition so I have no clue what "Natural" wine is. Is it anything but a marketing term to attract Millennials to wine? From the reading I have done, there is a wide disparity in the dos and donts of making a wine that is claimed to be "Natural." Put me in the skeptical category on this one.
maybe this can help :

GUIDELINES
These guidelines were not written to praise or condemn organic practices, but rather to define the actions (or non-actions) that allow for wine to fully express itself. Wine should be a product of nature and not external influences intended to speed up or stabilize the winemaking process. We work to restore the harmonious balance between man and the land. In short, this is the goal of Viniveri.

It is our mission of our group:
to bring together people who work in accordance with these guidelines;
to encourage discussion between producers and the exchange of experiences and results;
to seek out the best balance between human intervention and nature in the winemaking process;
to communicate the Viniveri guidelines and promote the work of wineries that abide by it.

1) GENERAL PRINCIPLES
All members of Viniveri and anyone interested in joining the group must follow the rules, listed below, throughout the entire production cycle, both in the vineyard and the winery.

2) IN THE VINEYARD
a) no herbicides and/or desiccant herbicides; b) no chemical fertilizers; c) no genetically modified vines; d) new vines planted in the vineyard must be sourced from pre-existing ones; e) cultivate indigenous grape varietials; f) disease may only be treated with products permitted by organic winegrowing standards and in no case are synthetic, local systemic or systemic products allowed; g) grapes must be harvested by hand.

3) IN THE CELLAR
a) only native yeasts present on the grapes or in the cellar can be used in fermentation; b) no nutrients or any other products can be added to modify the wine, such as vitamins, enzymes or bacteria; c) must concentration or forced-air drying methods are prohibited; d) the appassimento process of the grapes must occur naturally and not be forced; e) do not manipulate the natural development of the must or wine by trying to speed up or slow down the process; f) no temperature-controlled fermentation; g) no clarification or filtration of the wine because it alters the natural balance of the wine; h) sulfur dioxide levels can not exceed 80mg/l for dry wines and 100mg/l for sweet wines.

https://www.viniveri.net/en/soci-del-co ... la-regola/

I've met some extreme, anti-sulfur folks (and tasted even more wines), and as John Morris says, put (at least) some in, to protect - seems a good/sound practice to me (and the successes, to me, far outweigh the failures in this regard - and I make Vinnatur, and ViniVeri every year).
ITB, www.italianwinereviews.com
CT: Tim Heaton

User avatar
Adam Frisch
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 290
Joined: July 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#30 Post by Adam Frisch » October 31st, 2019, 7:13 am

Natural = Lower-Intervention.

Wine is the last big food group to be taken down the organic/natural/no additives/humane growing/no pesticides path (even junk food past that stage decades ago). It is inevitable. It was always the case that it would have to go down that route. You probably don't buy potato chips with transfats anymore if you can avoid it, right? Millenials want to be clued in, they want to know the origins of things and they want disclosure. It's pretty basic stuff, really. Not sure why it needs to be fought so hard.
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6634
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#31 Post by David Glasser » October 31st, 2019, 7:02 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 7:13 am
Natural = Lower-Intervention.

Wine is the last big food group to be taken down the organic/natural/no additives/humane growing/no pesticides path (even junk food past that stage decades ago). It is inevitable. It was always the case that it would have to go down that route. You probably don't buy potato chips with transfats anymore if you can avoid it, right? Millenials want to be clued in, they want to know the origins of things and they want disclosure. It's pretty basic stuff, really. Not sure why it needs to be fought so hard.
"Narural" is supposed to sound like basic stuff but is used as a marketing term with different meanings in different situations. I don't particularly mind the use of the term. I find it a worthwhile warning to look for more information about risk of spoilage before buying. There are those that place lower intervention above ageability and risk of spoilage. Nothing wrong with that but my priorities differ.

And are you sure all those no trans-fat products are produced with less intervention?

User avatar
Gareth H
Posts: 17
Joined: October 7th, 2015, 4:55 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#32 Post by Gareth H » November 1st, 2019, 8:28 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 7:13 am
Natural = Lower-Intervention.

Wine is the last big food group to be taken down the organic/natural/no additives/humane growing/no pesticides path (even junk food past that stage decades ago). It is inevitable. It was always the case that it would have to go down that route. You probably don't buy potato chips with transfats anymore if you can avoid it, right? Millenials want to be clued in, they want to know the origins of things and they want disclosure. It's pretty basic stuff, really. Not sure why it needs to be fought so hard.
Because nobody buys potato chips thinking they're having a gamble on getting a mouthful of spoilage organisms that make the chips taste like shit. People who make potato chips with minimal trans fats using organic potatoes etc. still have a grounding knowledge of food science and technology necessary to provide a product that's consistent and what the customer expects. The potato chip industry isn't riddled with tatted, bearded chaps with no formal training insisting that minimal intervention will yield a more authentic product, consistency be damned.

I take your point where transparency and responsible farming practices are concerned, but I really don't think the analogy holds water.

You are correct in saying that the cornerstone of the movement is lower intervention. But there's clearly a secondary motivation, to make as "authentic" a wine as possible, in order for it to reflect it's environment and variety in the most transparent way possible.
My assertion is that these are conflicting goals, and in many cases, natural wine fails at ticking both boxes at the same time.

User avatar
Adam Frisch
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 290
Joined: July 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#33 Post by Adam Frisch » November 2nd, 2019, 1:07 am

You're talking about natural wines that have no SO2? Yes, I've had a lot of spoiled and stinky wines in that category myself (but far from all), just like you. Personally, I use native yeast, but I do add SO2. And would consider using a commercial strand of yeast if the fermentation went down the wrong path (in fact I just did on one of them). Does that make them natural? Low intervention?

There are numerous wines that follow pretty much all these same principles, Ridge being one of many. Most ITB board members here, probably.

1. So if the definition of a natural wine is simply native yeast, then we've all had consistently good natural wines for centuries with no spoilage organisms.
2. If the definition is no SO2, then it's little trickier and I would say no, they probably can't be consistent or avoid spoilage.
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7749
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#34 Post by larry schaffer » November 2nd, 2019, 8:08 am

Adam Frisch wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 7:13 am
Natural = Lower-Intervention.

Wine is the last big food group to be taken down the organic/natural/no additives/humane growing/no pesticides path (even junk food past that stage decades ago). It is inevitable. It was always the case that it would have to go down that route. You probably don't buy potato chips with transfats anymore if you can avoid it, right? Millenials want to be clued in, they want to know the origins of things and they want disclosure. It's pretty basic stuff, really. Not sure why it needs to be fought so hard.
Adam,

I think the 'challenge' here is your basic definition. How would one define 'lower-intervention'? I understand that many 'natural' producers 'always' go native with their ferments, don't 'add' acid or any other chemicals other than small amounts of SO2, tend to work with organic or biodynamic vineyards, and bottle unfiltered. Is that what you mean by 'lower-intervention'? Or are there other ways that they are using 'lower intervention'?

What about racking wines during aging? Is that part of 'lower intervention'? What about destemming fruit? What about sorting fruit at the winery? What about temperature controlled ferments?

It seems to me that the wine press and 'wine influencers' (however you want to define these folks - from Somms to wine writers, etc) have created this 'incorrect' line that either you are 'natural' or you are 'industrial' or 'conventional' but there are so many folks doing things 'in between' these camps and yet not beating the drum.

I am just not a fan of 'dogma' in wine - or life in general - and that's where I have issues here.

And as far as the use of a microscope - I don't find that 'interventionist' at all. It is acknowledging that the winemaking process can and does involve actual 'science' - and one should understand cause/effect if one wants to better their craft.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Roy Piper
Posts: 3876
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:57 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#35 Post by Roy Piper » November 2nd, 2019, 12:20 pm

They could all save a lot of time by just making sure their cellar is very clean, their equipment is sanitized every time they use it and minimize the use of very old barrels, which cannot be sanitized no matter what you do. Looking under a microscope just tells you what you “have”, not how to avoid bacterial issues. If someone wants to see if they have an STD, a microscope will tell you. It does not stop you from getting it. That comes from making smart decisions before, not after, the fact.
ITB, text me anytime at 707-266-4168

User avatar
RichardFlack
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1183
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 10:41 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#36 Post by RichardFlack » November 2nd, 2019, 3:04 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 3:48 am
Real winemakers only use pencil. ;)
Especially if they are striving for that graphite tasting note.

User avatar
RichardFlack
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1183
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 10:41 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#37 Post by RichardFlack » November 2nd, 2019, 3:05 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
November 2nd, 2019, 1:07 am
You're talking about natural wines that have no SO2? Yes, I've had a lot of spoiled and stinky wines in that category myself (but far from all), just like you. Personally, I use native yeast, but I do add SO2. And would consider using a commercial strand of yeast if the fermentation went down the wrong path (in fact I just did on one of them). Does that make them natural? Low intervention?

There are numerous wines that follow pretty much all these same principles, Ridge being one of many. Most ITB board members here, probably.

1. So if the definition of a natural wine is simply native yeast, then we've all had consistently good natural wines for centuries with no spoilage organisms.
2. If the definition is no SO2, then it's little trickier and I would say no, they probably can't be consistent or avoid spoilage.
I though it just meant no oak chips....

User avatar
Adam Frisch
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 290
Joined: July 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#38 Post by Adam Frisch » November 3rd, 2019, 7:07 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
November 2nd, 2019, 8:08 am

Adam,

I think the 'challenge' here is your basic definition. How would one define 'lower-intervention'? I understand that many 'natural' producers 'always' go native with their ferments, don't 'add' acid or any other chemicals other than small amounts of SO2, tend to work with organic or biodynamic vineyards, and bottle unfiltered. Is that what you mean by 'lower-intervention'? Or are there other ways that they are using 'lower intervention'?

What about racking wines during aging? Is that part of 'lower intervention'? What about destemming fruit? What about sorting fruit at the winery? What about temperature controlled ferments?

It seems to me that the wine press and 'wine influencers' (however you want to define these folks - from Somms to wine writers, etc) have created this 'incorrect' line that either you are 'natural' or you are 'industrial' or 'conventional' but there are so many folks doing things 'in between' these camps and yet not beating the drum.

I am just not a fan of 'dogma' in wine - or life in general - and that's where I have issues here.

And as far as the use of a microscope - I don't find that 'interventionist' at all. It is acknowledging that the winemaking process can and does involve actual 'science' - and one should understand cause/effect if one wants to better their craft.

Cheers.
I agree, there is no definition and as such it's hard to have a framework for it. And in fact, most smaller wineries are probably closer to "natural" than they are industrial.

I was just responding to this resistance in some wine circles towards more disclosure about what goes into wine and how they're made, whilst at the same time bemoaning that the millenials aren't buying their wines. They're connected. It will become obvious that even though we might not do any of those industrial things/high SO2/glyphosate (whatever it is they think they don't like), we need to start telling the consumer that. We've been really bad about that. The zeitgeist snuck up on the wine industry and now we're looking dishonest, old and un-progressive. The battle for these new consumers will be won there.

It can all be summed up very easily: Millenial wine consumers want to minimize the hurt winemaking does to nature, animals and themselves. So if we just make sure we cover those concerns in a non-defensive way, I'm positive they will consume wine in great quantities. [cheers.gif]
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7749
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#39 Post by larry schaffer » November 4th, 2019, 7:28 am

Adam,

Interesting points - but at the same time, they are buying White Claw by the gallon and are not asking how those are made, right? How can we explain that?

The vast majority of millennials will unfortunately never taste most wines - it's what they are 'exposed to' that matters at this time. And who controls that? Gatekeepers are the wine buyer level for sure - they have a choice of what to offer them and are steering these conversations. Wine writers as well as social influencers, too. That's the biggest challenge - to make sure that these folks know more about what they are bringing in and are not 'taken in' by dogma so to speak . . .

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7749
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#40 Post by larry schaffer » November 4th, 2019, 7:30 am

Roy Piper wrote:
November 2nd, 2019, 12:20 pm
They could all save a lot of time by just making sure their cellar is very clean, their equipment is sanitized every time they use it and minimize the use of very old barrels, which cannot be sanitized no matter what you do. Looking under a microscope just tells you what you “have”, not how to avoid bacterial issues. If someone wants to see if they have an STD, a microscope will tell you. It does not stop you from getting it. That comes from making smart decisions before, not after, the fact.
Ouch . . . [wow.gif]

I wish it was as simple as that, but we both know it isn't. You can have the cleanest facility out there but still produce wines that have 'issues', and vice versa, you can have a 'dirty' facility but still produce wines without issues.

But yes, cleanliness matters,

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Roy Piper
Posts: 3876
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:57 pm

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#41 Post by Roy Piper » November 4th, 2019, 6:31 pm

Haha, yeah I knew that remark would gather some attention. Felt the discussion needed a little push. I think using a microscope is an odd choice but then again when I send a sample to the lab that’s what they use.😜
ITB, text me anytime at 707-266-4168

User avatar
Adam Frisch
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 290
Joined: July 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Would you consider technology use to be "natural?"

#42 Post by Adam Frisch » November 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Didn't help Frank Cornelissen. He was obsessed with cleanliness and convinced that if he just had the cleanest winery in the world, he'd not need SO2. Well, now he SO2's.. [stirthepothal.gif]
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”