Not all wine is created equal… thankfully.
For purveyors of natural wine, hand-harvested indigenous grapes in a field is a sight to behold and the rejection of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or fertilizers in the vineyard is paramount. Although sometimes criticized because the world of natural wine lacks a unified definition of what constitutes “natural,” like most good things in life, a little discernment and research goes a long way to linking you with something you may come to love.
Guido Cattabianchi, the founder of natural wine shop, Primal Wine, says wine has a way of making him feel less homesick. Cattabianchi is from Valpolicella, a wine region near Verona, Italy, and is a lover of all things minimal intervention when it comes to bottling wine. It is his mission with Primal to bring forth ancestral tastes and practices to enjoy and celebrate.
Primal Wine hosts an expansive, eclectic online catalogue of international and domestic natural wines, yet feels like your local wine shop — they’re eager to answer any questions about your wine tastes whether you’re a novice to natural or are just happy to be inspired by what’s new. Cattabianchi is a passionate sommelier who curates some of the world’s most interestingly unique wines. (Like the raw, rustic, and unpretentious bubbly Pétillant Naturel, which is native to Limoux in the south of France and is bottled before its first fermentation is complete, predating champagne.)
To understand what natural wine is, is to understand what it is not, or rather, what conventional wine making focuses on that natural wines forgo.
Cattabianchi explains that conventional wines depend on lab-grown yeasts, antimicrobials, antioxidants, acidity regulators, filtering agents, and fining agents. Beyond this, conventional methods may also aerate wines via gas injection, use reverse osmosis to control the juice-to-alcohol ratio, and intervene to control temperature.
Think of natural wine as a true reflection of its terroir; the environment in which the grapes are cultivated results in handcrafted wine with minimal intervention in the cellar.
Free from chemicals or temperature controlled devices, fermentation of natural wines takes place without the help of added industrial yeast with respect to cultural and philosophical practices that follow the rhythm of nature.
If you are sensitive to sulfites, natural wine is a much healthier alternative to explore and Primal is the wine club that will guide you along, every sip of the way.
Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative, epigenetic health and food therapy specialist, as well as a wellness, lifestyle, and food writer. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Christine lives, works, and plays in Southern California with her daughter and husband. Her podcast, Well Examined explores the depths of personalized wellness and sovereignty for modern living.