Natural Wine—Ouch! Is It Funny Because It’s True?


“Compared to traditional wines, natural wines have a wider range of flavor profiles, owing to the fact that they’re not constrained by oppressive concepts such as “good” and “drinkable.” You’ll find some that are effervescent and floral, while others can be tannic and herbal. Still others resemble the Syrah that your friends were expecting you to bring to their dinner party, so try to find that one, please.”

This (and more) from a New Yorker article satirizing the “natural wine” movement and its champions. Interestingly, this not-so-fawning treatment of the natural wine trend comes fairly close on the heels of The New Yorker taking on Orange Wine.

It’s almost like there’s a trend happening.

This time it’s lifestyle writer Michael B. Dougherty who takes on the Naturalistas with:

“Regular wines are filtered, but not natural wines. That gives them a cloudy appearance that, for any other consumable product, would elicit a “WTF” and angry demands to speak with a manager, but, inexplicably, here, it’s a good thing.”


“People who make natural wines will tell you that their wines are “alive,” that they have a “personality,” and that they exude “emotion.” These people will also bury cow horns full of manure in their vineyards because a nineteenth-century German occultist told them to do so.”

Mr. Dougherty did take some predictable push back from the denizens of the Twitterverse. But I’m sure he’ll live.


For many years now the champions of natural wine have been straight up denigrating non-natural wines. The claims have been all over the place and in almost every case made without any substantiation. We’ve had to listen to folks tell us that non-natural wine will make you sick, that it is made primarily with chemicals, that it is killing the earth, that it’s dead and that non-natural wine will give you a rash. I’ve called this kind of thing “denigration marketing”. And it is.

It seems to me that as long as the members of the niche where natural wine is venerated continue to make all sorts of moral and ethical claims about their drink of choice, they’ll likely have to live with more parodies and satires. In many cases, it’s just the only way to respond.

Posted In: Natural Wine


3 Responses

  1. Helene - October 19, 2019

    Ah, the joys of so-called natural wine…Nowadays natural wine is oftn so ‘natural’ as to become ‘unnatural’. Wine, in moderation, is meant to be pleasure, and if a ‘natural wine’ gives pleasure, so be it.

    If one goes back to the ages when the produce of the vines was truly undrinkable, Roman? Greek? Anglo-Saxon? (ah, yes, I forgot that the last turned to brewing, much more reliable!), there were always ADDITIVES-honey, seawater, heroes, spices, etc. Not sure those Classical styles would be pleasurable to the modern tastes, but possibly for some consumers?

    Trends are trends. If generation Z or Millennials wish to consume orange and other forms of so-called ‘natural wines’, please allow them to do so. Me, I’m back to my 1996 Rollin Perl et fils Corton-Charlemagne…

  2. Bruce susel - October 19, 2019

    Natural wine…. Imo has been around for many years……open fermentation with natural yeast and unfined? What about France and Spain? Many fine examples without touting a buzzword.

  3. Ray Krause - October 20, 2019

    “Natural” wines and “Sour” beer can only be categorized as “Romancing a Flaw”.
    Much the same as the fabric industry did with “Crushed Velvet” after some puddinghead stood the roll on end……Fifty- five years of making and drinking “un-Natural” wines and nary a rash.

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