Folks at the bar often ask us, “When I’m at a store, how do I know that a wine is natural? Is there some sort of label that identifies a natural wine from a commercial wine?” We typically say that the best way to know whether or not a wine is natural is to ask around at your local wine shop (if you’re in Boston, we love The Wine Bottega, Central Bottle, The Wine & Cheese Cask, Social Wines, and Streetcar JP). But in short, the answer is no - there’s no label or easy way to tell if a wine is natural or not. A big reason for that is that there there’s no official accreditation nor one-size-fits-all definition for what makes a wine “natural.” Angiolino Maule, a natural winemaker in Italy, is working on creating some standard practices across all natural winemakers that could address some of these challenges. We recently started pouring his floral and snappy wine, Masieri, by the glass at Rebel Rebel and as I read more about Maule, I learned all about the work he’s done to bring science into his winemaking process and build community around natural wine.
In 2000 he founded an organization called VinNatur that connects more than 170 producers from around the world to share their experiences and research on natural winemaking practices. He’s worked with scientists to develop natural ways to fight pesticides, better understand wild yeasts in cellars, and improve soil quality. Organizations like VinNatur (Raw Wine is another example) are promoting natural winemaking practices and helping more winemakers figure out how to adapt their practices to work naturally. In short, Maule is basically a badass and doing so much to promote natural winemaking practices and help others continue refining their techniques.
If you’re curious about Maule’s wine, Masieri, here’s a bit more info about his wine and the technical specs:
Grape: 100% Garganega (second pass)
Name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown: La Biancara
Location of the vineyard: Veneto, Italy (Northeast Italy)