The Immoral and Unethical Wine Frauds of the World

The biggest frauds of the wine world are still slinging their corrosive lies. We know this because we read today that Doug Wregg’s “Real Wine Fair” and its promotion of “Natural” wine appears to still be going strong among a very small number of dupes, lost souls and the ignorant among us.

Mr. Wregg is unlikely to take exception to me using the terms “fraud” or “corrosive” liar, or “ignorant” to describe him and others willing to stick to the unfounded use of words like “real wine” or “Natural Wine” to denigrate all other winemakers in order to sell his own wines. He should understand that these are just terms used to bring together a group of people believing in a different way from him.

I know this because according to Wregg:

“It’s not just about natural wine anymore – the move towards untampered, sustainably produced products is endemic to our culture. The knowledge among customers has increased and a whole generation of people are now engaged. I think a few people still get annoyed by the name: the ‘real’ wine fair and our promotion, Real Wine Month. But it’s just a word used to bring together a group of people working in a different way – not making wines in a laboratory.”

When Mr. Wregg claims that a “whole generation of people” are engaged with “natural” and “real” wine what he really means is that a very tiny percentage of wine drinkers have any notion of what is meant by “natural” or “real” wine and that the amount of self-proclaimed “natural” wine being sold is so small as to not amount to a small drop in the bucket. Moreover, the percentage of wineries worldwide that describe what they do as “natural” is, again, extraordinarily tiny. Well, that’s what Mr. Wregg would mean if he were willing to tell the truth.

And did you catch what Mr. Wregg did there in his comment? He’s telling the wine world that if you aren’t making “natural” or “real” wine, then you are making wine in a laboratory. Why does he say this? Likely because it appears necessary for him to denigrate all wine producers world wide in order to attempt to market the wines he calls “natural” but which have often been called extremely flawed and even undrinkable by consumers and palates far more experienced than his own.

That’s always been my problem with people like Wregg: THE DENIGRATION OF ALL WINES EXCEPT THOSE HE SAYS ARE “NATURAL” ALL FOR THE SAKE OF MARKETING. It’s a strategy that is both fraudulent and immoral.

Until Wregg and those that have attempted to foist the same fraud and lies on the wine trade and wine consumers apologize for their immoral and unethical sales tactics, the worldwide wine trade ought to ignore their wines and let them die on the vine. It’s simply wrong to support a group that has no interest in telling the truth and is primarily concerned with telling lies about their competitors.

Again, Mr. Wregg shouldn’t take umbrage with the way I describe him and his followers. It’s just language used to bring together those who believe differently than him.

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11 Responses

  1. Mark Ellenberger - May 15, 2019

    Talk about hitting the nail on the head, or the idiots on their heads……Unlike Bio dynamic or Organic farming, there is no real definition for what is a ‘natural’ wine. Just because you limit the SO2 applied during production or limit fining agents and do not sterile filter the wine you are not any more ‘natural’ than any producer that practices safe, sanitary and minimally invasive traditional production techniques and you will probably end up with wine that will go off in 6 months.

  2. Elizabeth Schneider - May 15, 2019

    Tom,

    I’ve had that article open in my browser for days now, and I keep looking back on it, just trying to process what the heck is going on here. I can’t believe how ridiculous Wregg is. So people making wine in a traditional way are all the sudden frauds? And having Bordeaux and Burgundy on a wine list means you’re an idiot? WTF?

    I can’t even begin to process this nonsense. This guy is working in a niche and is using a Trumpian approach regarding “natural” wine’s popularity: Say it enough times and people will parrot it and then believe it’s the new truth. I feel like this has gone from a nice little niche movement to now this dude taking on some crusade. I’m rendered speechless (rare, I know), by this utter jackassery.

  3. Doug Tunnell - May 16, 2019

    As my friend Don once said, “natural wine depends a lot on who you hang out with…”

  4. Tommy G. - May 16, 2019

    I don’t know which is the most idiotic article; this one or the one in the Onion about local wines being shitty. This type of article does an injustice to all types of wine and their creators.

  5. Blake Gray - May 16, 2019

    Geez, Tom, I just wrote an article yesterday about a wine storage facility owner who sold the wines that people placed with him and pocketed the money. I clicked on this because I thought maybe you had that story, or a similar story, and I wanted to read your take.

    Take a breath, man. “Real wine” is just a phrase. There’s a lot of real, outright fraud going on in the wine business. The Real Wine Fair isn’t hurting anybody.

  6. Tom Wark - May 16, 2019

    Blake,

    Blake, to your point, my favorte part of the quote from Wregg is this:

    “But it’s just a word used to bring together a group of people working in a different way – not making wines in a laboratory.”

    It’s nice to know that everything besides “natural wine” is made in a “laboratory”. Mr. Wregg has probablly tasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/2 of 1/2 of one percent of all the wines in the world. He knows how a tenth of those wines are produced. Yet he’s willing to pronounce them “laboratory” wines in an effort to sell “natural” wine.

  7. Bob Rossi - May 16, 2019

    If you really want to get worked up, take a look at this article about “clean” wine: https://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Clean-wine-ill-defined-but-taking-root-13848389.php

    For what it’s worth, I’ve visited a hundred or so wineries in France over the years, and when someone at one of the wineries I visited last month used a term equivalent to “natural wine,” that probably doubled the number of times I’ve heard French winemakers use it. And most of the wineries I’ve visited are small, family-run operations, not “laboratories.”

  8. Paul Vandenberg - May 16, 2019

    Wine is not natural, it’s a human artifact.

    I make wine from grapes grown sans pesticides, it’s ingredient labeled. It’s not natural.

    Don’t tell me your wine is natural if you use “inputs” in the vineyard and you don’t ingredient label.

    Paul Vandenberg
    Paradisos del Sol

  9. Miguel Lecuona - May 17, 2019

    “Wine is not nature. VINEGAR is nature. Wine is culture” – said to me by a winemaker in Pomerol.

  10. Helene - May 20, 2019

    Hmmm? Quite a number of so-called ‘Natural Wines’ are so ‘natural’ as to be ‘UNnatural’ and certainly undrinkable. Trust me, been there; seen it and tried to taste it. NBM (a very technical medical acronym meaning ‘Nil by Mouth’)! Don’t taste or drink…

    As a wine producer, I am a great supporter of only intervening when something needs doing. But avoiding the monitoring and eschewing doing anything? That’s simply idiotic.

    A quote from a really rather famous architect: ‘I asked the brick what it wanted to be and it said it wanted to be an arch.’ When did a normal rectangular brick EVER want to be an arch? A wine paraphrase from a seriously well-known, but also extremely careful, wine producer: ‘I asked the wine what it wanted to be and that is what it has become.’ Both of these chaps would have checked and triple-checked all along the way to fruition of their projects. And, if intervention was required, it will have occurred.


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