Call me a skeptic, a cynic even… but hard to define words are a sign of danger for me. What exactly is “Natural” wine? I understand the term organic - to an extent, for it too has limitations. I get the point of eco-friendly, bio-intensive agriculture. But “Natural” does not come to me, forgive the bad writing, naturally. I can admit it - I too had negative experiences with wines that use the term as a cover. But Natural, Organic and Low-Intervention wine-making, both as a terms and as ideologies, have come a long way; and so have the wines. I was stunned at the quality across the board of this year’s Raw Wine Fair in New York City. Wines exhibiting bright, crisp fruit, deeply aromatic, elegant and speaking of place and time. From the superstars of the movement like Cornelissen, Scholium Project, Radikon, Gravner to the multiple newcomers and risings stars across the globe - there was a clear message sent at the fair: “Raw Wine is not a Fad”.
Listening to Isabelle Legeron, the Founder of Raw Wine, describe the her vision of Natural wine, one thing was clear: it is all about the agriculture. “We can talk about the cellar later,” she said, “90% of the work is in the vineyard.” Her passion was infectious - “terrior is life in the vineyard”, and I cannot agree more. In a world looking more and more at organic food, organic agriculture, organically farmed grapes for wine are surely as important. I will add, certification itself is not the answer, it is the commitment that matters. Isabelle pointed out that only 7% of the world’s wine grapes are farmed organically and, certification discussion aside, that is shocking. Unlike food, wine is a luxury good, and thus, in my opinion, should set the standard even higher. If I had any doubts about the message of the movement and of Raw Wine, Isabelle blasted every one of them. This isn’t about a specific ideology - it is about a commitment to Nature itself. And that I cannot argue with.
I want to take the opportunity to thank Isabelle Legeron, Raw Wine, Heritage Radio Network and the producers themselves for this eye-opening experience! I cannot wait to taste more and learn more.