Technique

Wines, Naturally

Many wine experts are very skeptical about natural winemaking techniques. They say natural fermentations lead to unreliable or stuck ferments and regard doing away with sulfite additions — a requirement of certified organic wines in the United States — as handing over the wine to spoilage microbes. But in recent years, a small but growing number of winemakers are using less chemical intervention and turning it into commercial success. Their techniques vary, but the inspiration is often a desire to craft wines that are unique and more natural, coupled with environmental concerns. These wines, say the advocates, have an originality and depth of flavor unmatched by the results of a more conventional winemaking process. And let’s face it, if the superstar Bordeaux winery Château Pontet-Canet can go not just organic, but biodynamic, then you should be able to hold back on those chemicals just a little, don’t you think? As I researched organic winemaking, I wanted to hear about the pros and cons directly from the winemakers who have bought in. So I consulted with three professionals who make wines