Natural wines are more difficult to define, and are not certificated in the way biodynamic wines, for example, are. They are farmed organically or biodynamically, hand-harvested and ‘transformed’ without the addition or removal of anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used, and intervention in the naturally occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum. Neither fining nor filtration are employed. The result is a wine full of naturally occurring microbiology. Essentially, it’s about using what one was given, with the wine evolving naturally to be whatever it will be.
- Huia Hunky Dory Sauvignon Blanc 2017
- Escarpment Noir Skin Contact Pinot Noir 2017
- Fromm La Strada Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016
In NZ, the presence of sulphur dioxide is required to be noted on the label. Sulphur is produced naturally from the grapes through the fermentation process, so all wines will contain a certain amount. The other way you’ll encounter sulphur is in its addition as a preservative, used to inhibit oxidation and microbial spoilage. The amount used varies, and therein lies the difference: between those who adhere to the formulaic approach and those who do everything they can to reduce their sulphur content. Some wines have no sulphur added at all, the Seresin and Araucano wines below being prime examples.
- Seresin OSIP Pinot Noir 2016
- Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Syrah 2016
- Henri Giraud L’Esprit de Giraud Brut NV
Vegan Friendly Wines
The reason not all wines are vegan- or vegetarian-friendly is down to the way a wine is clarified (i.e. made clear and bright) via a process called ‘fining’. Young wines naturally contain proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are in no way harmful, and most wines will eventually self-clarify. However, to hasten the process, many winemakers use fining agents. The most commonly used are casein (milk protein), albumen (egg white), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). When it comes to assessing what’s in there, it’s worth noting the label is generally not going to be of much assistance.
- Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay 2015
- Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc 2016
- Akarua Pinot Gris 2016
- Nga Waka Pinot Noir 2016