Wine Trends Part 1: Natural Wine

Wine Trends Part 1: Natural Wine

Natural wine shops are popping up all over the U.S. from NYC to Detroit to Los Angeles. Their palate, color, and nose are all different from conventional wines. Despite their supposedly "murky" or "funky" taste and smell, natural wines are marketed as more sustainable and healthy than conventional (non-natural) wines.

Natural Wine In A Nutshell

Natural wines (not to be confused with natty light....) are made with as few chemical additives as possible. Many natural wines are even made of hand-picked grapes. 

Natural Wine Is The OG Method of Winemaking

All wine was made naturally before the 20th century. For the vast majority of history, wine was made without added preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, etc. This is largely because the science and technology needed for these additives wasn't available and/or wasn't needed. In the 1900s, population growth, economic factors, and other global changes increased the demand for agricultural products. Farmers needed more food at a better price that was available faster and lasted longer. Enter tools that killed predatory organisms and extended the life of agriculture.

The Modern Era of Winemaking

In the 1900s, the wine we commonly drink today (also known as conventional wine) entered the market. Conventional wine may contain preservatives, be filtered, and/or undergo other additives and treatments to enhance characteristics and flavor, preserve taste and smell, and provide visual clarity to the wine.

A Revert to Natural

As consumer interest in health, sustainability, and the likes rose in the 2000's, so did interest in natural wines. Natural wines became popular again in France at the turn of the century. Natural wines began popping up in the U.S. around 2015 and are expected to grow in popularity. Millennials are particularly drawn to natural wines because of their arguably healthier and more sustainable traits.

Cloudy/Murky Wine Appearance

Natural wine can be particularly striking because of its appearance. There is a significant amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and it can appear as murky as dirty water. The sediment is natural and is not harmful, but it is cloudy and atypical of conventional wines.

This sediment occurs naturally in wine. It is the compilation of organic matter such as parts of the grape or yeast. In conventional wines, the sediment is removed through the filtering process. In this stage, the wine is filtered using fining agents such as egg whites (albumen), carbon, bentonite, or casein. You can also filter particles at home using an aerator.

Wine As A Living Organism

Natural wine is grown with much of the flora and other vegetation of the vineyard land. Some natural winemakers view the wine as being alive even in the bottle. If we view natural wine as living organism, it can help us accept or even appreciate how dynamic natural wine is. From the movement of sediment to its short shelf life once opened, the natural wine life cycle is more striking and faster to our eyes and taste buds than conventional wines.


Because natural wine does not contain preservatives, it "spoils" faster. Natural wine should be consumed within a couple days, no more than three, and preferably within an hour. 

Where to Buy

Natural wine is typically sold in boutique wine shops. In Michigan, natural wine can be found at House of Pure Vin and Motor City Wines in Detroit or Spencer's or Ground Control in Ann Arbor. 

Natural wine is a pebble toss away in NYC - there are a great selection of natural wine shops in the Big Apple! Other large cities such as Los Angeles also have a good selection, so just do a search of your local wine shops and see what they have available. If what you want isn't in stock, ask the shop to bring some in for you. #ShopSmall

In Conclusion

Is natural wine healthier? Is it more sustainable? Does it taste better? Many people say natural wine tastes a bit funkier than conventional wine, but that it isn't particularly noticeable. As for the other questions, that's for you to decide! Have you tried natural wine? What did you think?


Caitlyn Caroline Wiley


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.