How To Tell if A Natural Wine Sucks

suckingWhenever I see someone disparage other wines and wineries in the service of their own wines I assume one thing and one thing only: Their own wines suck.

Interestingly, this brand of disparagement is embraced primarily by those who are trying to sell so-called “Natural Wines”. It has occurred with some regularity that Natural Wine supporters attempt to diminish the quality and character of wines not self-identifying as “natural”.

It has happened again in a new article published by JustLuxe entitled “The Rise of Natural Wine”.

“You would not believe the amount of junk that goes in to grape juice. It really comes down to money. Grapes are an incredibly expensive and susceptible crop, which is a bad combination. Imagine you can take four pounds of grapes, crush them and sell that bottle for $300 in Napa Valley. So, every pound of grapes you lose—bam—that’s $75 down the drain. So they will throw as many chemicals as they can to make sure that fruit stays healthy. Plus, once the grapes get to the point of processing, the winemakers are going to do all sorts of adding and doctoring to make it right.”

“Commercial winemakers are trying to engineer a wine that will be more pleasurable to a consumer’s palate. To me, that’s the exact opposite of what the luxury consumer wants. You can buy a nice, expensive bottle of wine that tastes just what you expect, but any idiot can do that. What a luxury consumer really wants is a special experience. These guys are trying to manipulate their grapes and terroir to make it taste like something I want. Any smart luxury customer is going to say no, I have good taste—whether they do or not”
Andrew Yandell, founder and CEO of Trumpet Wines

Yandell is an importer of Spanish wines. As I said above, when I read a wine seller disparage other wines, I assume the seller’s own wines suck.

Yandell implies that Napa Valley wines are all manipulated and full of “Junk” and doctored. He implies that all but natural wines are manipulated in the vineyard and in the winery.

Yandell isn’t alone in his dishonesty. The advocates of natural wine have been making statements like this for years.

There is a similarity in these kinds of dishonest statements. They never name names. They talk of “commercial wines” (as though the “natural” wines are not for sale). They speak of an entire region’s wines (see his statement about Napa Valley wines), and they talk about “industrial wines”. But they never actually name names, the names of wines and the names of the winemakers who make them.

Is it Warren Winarski of Stag’s Leap? Was it Robert Mondavi? Is it Paul Draper of Ridge who is throwing junk in his wines? Is Yandell talking about Bo Barrett of Montelena? Is Bob Trinchero adding and doctoring? Maybe he means to point to Merry Edwards or Cathy Corison or Randall Grahm as the “commercial” winemakers that don’t make “natural” wine who are throwing chemicals into their wines.

We’ll never know. He doesn’t name names. He just indicts everyone.

It’s called being cowardly.

Posted In: Natural Wine


3 Responses

  1. Bob Henry - July 19, 2016

    Nice job calling out a self-serving miscreant in the wine industry.

    California vintners ruthlessly drop pounds of fruit in pursuit of increasing their wine’s quality.

    That’s what gets them to the exalted status of being $300 bottles of wine.

    (Purportedly, Jean Phillips used only about 10% of her vineyard’s fruit to make her annual 500-plus cases of Screaming Eagle. The rest of the fruit she sold off as a cash crop.)

  2. Bob Rossi - July 21, 2016

    Based on the quoted statements, I would say there’s a typo in the name. Is it Trump Wines?

  3. Duncan King - December 8, 2017

    IU have been dealing with this for the last couple years. infuriating, i have become a “wine troll.” Scott shultbz from jolie laide emailed me a threat letter. Every customer comes in as confused as ever asking if it’s natural, the same people who ask if it’s “dry.”they just want to feel aprt of something. Removing man’s intent from wine suffocates its inherent expressive capabilities. they derive their entire value from absence…that makes no sense. i always assume these are people who don’t know how to actuallly “make” wine. i would love to talk more with you. I work at a prominent shop in LA and am battling this from inside as well as out. Lou wine shop is my mortal enemy now. they call their wines “natural” and they have a section that says “unusual” i told them they are all deep seeded racists.

    Send me an email!

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