Natural Or Dry Wines

Forest Nymph

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Something I've become very aware of in recent months is the environmental devastation done by monocrops of artificially irrigated wineries in the Napa Valley. In the process of reading about this, I stumbled upon the concept of natural wines and "dry wineries." Natural wines would always be vegan since they don't include a "fining" process, and could arguably be healthier since most don't add any sulfites or any other types of chemicals or preservatives. I think the fact that they're more expensive is actually a plus - not a minus - since cheap, easy access to alcohol makes it far too easy to take it for granted or drink too much. Paying a little more for a natural wine or a wine from a dry winery might actually influence a person to drink higher quality alcohol in smaller amounts for their own health and the environment. The only "downside" I can see of this, is that it's best to drink it quickly and obtain it locally, since unlike mass produced wines with sulfites, they are prone to spoilage MUCH more quickly, and absolutely have to be stored in a cellar, wine fridge, or dark moldy corner of your bedroom closet. It's going back to the ancient way to produce wines, which is what makes it produce less product (and thus make it more expensive), since modern methods of wine making - particularly in the US - are comparable to factory farms as damaging monocrop agriculture.

Does anyone have any experience or information on this topic? I'm curious because I have always liked wine, but increasingly strive to consume more environmentally sustainable products, and take better care of my own health.
 
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Lou

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I didn't know much about this at all. but it sounds like good stuff. So I hit the old google machine and found out some stuff.

The three hot buttons in the wine industry right now are organic, natural, and biodynamic.

Organic may be the clearest cut of the terms because the USDA certifies "organic". but wines come from many countries and who know what organic means in France or Chili. But at least for American wines we know what an organic label means.

Natural is probably the most likely to be vegan wine. But I don't believe there is anybody policing the labeling. But I really like the concept. I could only find a couple of California wineries that called themselves Natural. Both in Mendocino. Road Trip!

The article I read about biodynamic wine was not unbiased so I have to do some more HW. But it appears to be the type of farming that is promoted by what I call the Slow Food Movement. (see Rudolf Steiner and Joel Salatin). In a nutshell, without the nutty stuff is that it strives to minimize inputs.

I used to be a bit of a wine-guy. Where once or twice a year I went on a winery tasting weekend. (just another benefit of living in California. I got different regions North, East, and South. and even a little bit to the west before you drive into the Pacific). Now I just don't drink it that much and just get recommendations from my old wine-drinking buddies. And mostly buy whatever is cheapest (and organic and vegan) at Trader Joes. But I'm now thinking I need to go to Mendocino and find out more about Natural Wines.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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I saw one in the store today (I didn't buy it or any other but took mental note) that's from around here that said no fining, no sulphites, etc for surprisingly under twenty dollars. I saw another online specifically advertising itself as natural terroir and was more like thirty a bottle. I was reading about these gross things that can be put in wine, like something called Mega Purple to give it a pleasing color, and decided I can't ever drink cheap wine again.

I also really didn't realize how bad the deforestation was in Napa because of the large conventional wineries. I remember reading somewhere that cider is actually the most sustainable alcohol. But I like wine.
 
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Lou

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I don't usually go to Target but I might schedule a trip next week. (It's a little out of the way - but there are a number of things they have that are good buys). Anyway, I think they might have a Natural wine for $8. but before I go to target I want to take a closer look at the wines at the stores I do go to regularly.

I still prefer beer but I only drink about one can a week. When I buy wine I pretty much have to have a glass or two every night or it goes bad.

A little off the subject but check out the documentary or book, Botany of Desire, by Michal Pollan. It follows four plant species that subjugated people into propagating them. Apples for Mash. Potatoes, marijuana, tulips. Seems like corn should be in there.
 
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Lou

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I brought this up before in another thread but anyway....

I have a Trader Joe's a few minutes walk from my house and therefore shop there a lot.
Charles Shaw has several organic wine varietals and they are only $4 a bottle.

I asked one of the employees about Natural wine and he knew quite a bit about it. He even thinks TJs will be stocking it eventually. he told me that it is really getting a lot of attention lately. he said that here in the Bay Area there are only a few places to buy it and or drink it. but it might be growing fast.

 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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Hey @Lou thank you for the awesome book recommendation! I'm also glad you could find someone knowledgeable at TJs. We don't have them here, but honestly, I think I have quite a wide variety of sulfite free wines here, which are also vegan. My water concerns are a bit assuaged too if I'm sourcing it further North. It only means paying 12-25 here, though I will shamefully admit I've bought the 6 or 8 dollar ones more frequently.

It's just about being more conscious of what I drink. Maybe some comes with age, I can't imagine struggling to drink two glasses of wine a night so it doesn't go bad. I'm more the type to drink a bottle and not drink again for a week (or at least half a week).
 

Lou

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I can't remember who said it, maybe it was Collen Patrick Gaudreau. Anyway, that mindfulness is like a weed or something. Once it takes hold it starts to spread.

For me, it started with a concern for dairy cows. and it has been spreading ever since. Meat, eggs. Chocolates, coffee, tea. Now to wines. And I'm starting to worry about my beer, too.

The Cheapest beer at TJ's is Simpler Times, Barnivore labels it Vegan-Friendly. and so is the Charles Shaw organic wines. I am ok with that for now. But the Natural Wine is something I will look for.

Hey, the Cannabis infused tropical fruit chewies I bought last week are vegan too. I don't remember looking for the vegan label. maybe its become instinctual.
 
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Celibataire

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Barnivore also lists as vegan-friendly the following English wines:


Novel Wines lists the following Bolney wines as vegan-friendly:


One consequence of our climate becoming milder is that the English wine making industry in now thriving.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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Barnivore also lists as vegan-friendly the following English wines:


Novel Wines lists the following Bolney wines as vegan-friendly:


One consequence of our climate becoming milder is that the English wine making industry in now thriving.

Interesting unrelated point: the climate where I live is currently an approximation of the climate of Medieval England. Someone at my university did a project on it in a Geography program.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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I discovered a local product called Green Fire Winery. They don't "fine" their wines or filter them, and they don't add any sulfites. I usually prefer dry reds but their dry wines are extremely dry. I actually ended up with a bottle of the Rose' of Syrah, which is a cold sweet wine that can be drank with ice in the summer. I usually HATE these kinds of sweet wines, they make me nauseous, but this one is PERFECT.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) they're pretty stubborn about selling local. There's a very limited website and the bottle I have says FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA ONLY. Then it describes how many bottles were produced in the batch, and when it was bottled.

Good stuff. I guess. Because though I know one place I can get it, I wonder how challenging it would be to find my new favorite wine in a shop or restaurant.