The Wine Materialist Lays a Natural Turd
“As Nature Intended”.
On its face, the phrase implies that nature or the natural world displays intent, which further implies that a rock, an apple tree, the wind, iron molecules and, yes, even vineyards possess intelligence. And this is a kind interpretation of the phrase. At base, the phrase implies that “Nature” is a single intelligent actor that is at least willful and at most omnipotent.
It’s a pretty bold claim. And while I hate to be the materialist who lays a turd in church, I have to say it’s a pretty crazy claim. In fact, you don’t have to think about it too long and hard to appreciate just how whacked out is the idea that nature is intelligent, has plans and perhaps even carries them out with willfulness.
So, what should we make of the fact that one can find claims that Natural Wine is “wine as nature intended” and that we can find these claims all over the place including Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. And Here. This is only part of the long list of assertions that wines dubbed “natural” are “as nature intended.”
However the most forceful proponent of the “wine as nature intended” trope, outside of Wiccans, Pantheists, and Druids, is Isabelle Legeron, “That Crazy Frenchwoman” who claims in an article in Decanter Magazine that Natural Wines “are as nature intended: a frank representation of a piece of land in a particular year.” In fact, the case for nature possessing intent will take book form when Ms. Legeron publishes her book, “Natural Wine” on April Fools Day of this year.
While I can’t be absolutely positive, I’m pretty sure that those who claim Natural Wines are “as nature intended”, including Ms. Legeron, don’t believe what they say about nature’s apparent will. But, damn….It sounds good. It sounds spiritual. It sounds like the right thing to do. It even sound’s like God’s will. It sounds a little like we ought to take a knee and perhaps bow a head when confronting these wines that Nature intended.
What we are actually talking about here….is REALLY good marketing. Brand marketing to be proud of.
“As Nature Intended.” is the same kind of brand marketing as the term “Natural Wine”. Neither bear any resemblance to reality, even when you attach the phrase “a frank representation of a piece of land in a particular year” to the end of it. By this measure huge and copious numbers of wines are “natural”.
The fact is, just as there is no such thing as a willful nature, there is no such thing as “natural wine”. Well….that’s not entirely true. That puddle of partially fermented grape juice gathered beneath a set of grape clusters fallen from the vine in late October and being fought over by a collection of feisty birds is really the only thing we could honestly call “natural wine.” The thing is though, you don’t want to drink that because it may make you sick.