If you’re a wine aficionado, you’ve likely heard people talking about the new trend of natural wine. The thing is, natural wine isn’t new — people have enjoyed wine in its raw state for decades. But it is making a comeback as more and more people look to wines that are environmentally sound and better for their bodies.
If you’re new to the concept of natural wine — and want to learn how to make it — you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at natural wine and how it can enhance your appreciation for wine.
What is Natural Wine?
People make natural wine without the intervention of chemicals and technology. This approach to winemaking concentrates on extracting the flavors of the fruit to produce a wild and sometimes complex wine. The art of producing natural wine begins in the fields and carries through to the cellars where manufacturers make the wine and age it.
For instance, natural winemakers pick the grapes by hand, crush the grapes by stomping on them, and forego any chemicals or technology to help aid in its production.
What Does Natural Wine Taste Like?
The flavor of the wine depends on who makes it. Some natural winemakers bring back indigenous grapes from the point of extinction to use in natural wines for a funky and unique flavor. Others use traditional grapes but still abide by natural wine boundaries by leaving the wine unfiltered and sulfur-free.
You will find natural wines that are simple, wild, and verging on funky, and those that taste similar to traditional wines.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Natural Wine?
Switching from traditionally produced wine to natural wine gives you a host of benefits. Not only is the process better for the environment because natural winemaking leaves a smaller footprint, but it’s better for your health.
Here are a few things you’ll leave behind when drinking natural wine instead of traditionally produced wine:
- Sawdust: think you taste the oak barrel in your wine? It could be added sawdust.
- Food dyes: wine producers add 10,000 gallons of food dye to 25 million bottles of wine each year
- Wine headaches: traditionally produced wines contain commercial yeasts which are often GMO — and that can cause headaches
- Sulfur: some people are sensitive to this stabilizing additive
- Sugar: speeds up the fermentation process and gives the wine a higher alcohol content
- Pesticides and herbicides: most nonorganic wines contain these
How to Make Natural Wine
Are you convinced that natural wine is right for you? If so, you’ll be happy to know that you can make your own wine without a lot of equipment or costs. But before we take a look at some recipes, let’s talk about two important factors in the process.
Do it without the yeast
When making natural wine, you won’t add any commercial yeast to your batch. That’s because this wine uses natural yeast, which is everywhere in the environment. The use of natural yeast results in something called wild fermentation.
In other words, natural wine is made…naturally.
But you should know this
Because you’re not using commercial yeast to make your wine, you can’t predict how it will taste. That’s because you never know what strain of yeast will convert the sugar into alcohol. So, sometimes your wine may be a little funky or sometimes the bacteria in the wine can convert the sugar into vinegar.
But that’s part of the appeal of natural wine: a wild and unpredictable outcome.
But if you want to control the process, you can add a preservative like sulfur dioxide to the wine.
What should I bring to this party?
When making natural wine, you won’t need to buy an expensive wine kit. Instead, all you need are a few things you probably already have lying around the house.
Here’s what you need to make your own wine:
- A large ceramic bowl
- A piece of cloth that covers the bowl
- An air lock
- A large glass jar with a small mouth
Natural Wine Recipe
Are you ready to make your own natural wine? The process is a bit slow, but easy, even for beginners. Here is a great wine recipe you can try today!
To make grape wine, choose the freshest organic grapes you can find. Then follow this recipe.
2.2 pounds of black grapes
1-2 teaspoons of raw, organic honey (optional)
15.3 cups of water
Keep in mind that all of your utensils, bowl, and jar should be dry. If they’re not, the water in the wine will cause it to sour.
Start by boiling the water and then setting it aside to cool. Next, remove the stalks from the grapes and wash them. Wipe each grape dry to remove all of the water. Using your ceramic bowl, add the grapes and sugar and crush them with your hands. Next, add the cooled water and stir it until mixed.
Attach the clean cloth to the bowl with a rubber band. Stir the mixture four to five times a day for the first few days to start the process of fermentation. When you see bubbles begin to form, you know the wild yeast is digesting the sugars.
If mold begins to form on the side of the bowl, wipe it off. Once the bubbles begin to decrease, pour the mixture into the sterilized glass jar and place the airlock on it. Twice a day, remove the carbon dioxide from the mixture. Then, after a week, do it only once a day.
After a few more days, taste the wine. If you like it, store it in old wine bottles with a cork. If the wine doesn’t taste right, continue the process for another few days until you like what you taste. When filling the bottles, leave a quarter-inch unfilled.
Pick Your Own Fruit
Using the recipe above, you can make just about any type of wine you desire. You can use peaches, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, or pears to make a unique wine.
Experiment until you find the perfect wine that you love.
Here’s a great video demonstration of how to make berry wine:
Are You Ready to Make Natural Wine?
Making natural wine isn’t difficult, but it does take time and patience. But just think: as your homemade wine sits on the counter fermenting, you can start planning the next batch. Will you make the traditional grape wine, or will you get original and make wine from this year’s crop of strawberries or peaches? It’s all up to you!
Have you ever made natural wine? If so, we would love to hear about the experience in the comment section below. Tell us what you did right and gives us your hints and recipes for your best wine!
We’ve got plenty of other great natural ideas! Editor’s picks for further reading: