7. LIQUID CULTURE: Natural Wine
Although it’s appropriate that the term “natural” is conceptually rough-hewn (i.e., without a technical definition in food and drink), 2011 saw a continuation of the trend to go “natural” in wine. More and more winemakers are experimenting with biodynamics, going organic, or working with less sulfur. Organizations like “LIVE” (Low Input Viticulture & Enology) give the movement structure and standardization through education and certification. It’s a somewhat contentious movement, documented in David Darlington’s An Ideal Wine and Alice Feiring’s Naked Wine. Practices vary, but sustainable is the buzzword. Beyond differences in the process and general palate, the impact of natural wines is yet to be known. If one forgoes sulfur and pesticides and the wines ferments inadequately or the crop fails, is this sustainable?