It's easy to take to the pages of Instagram, search #naturalwine, and discover which trendy brands are crowding the shelves of bottle shops these days.
I've been guilty of falling down this rabbit hole, refusing to imbibe anything with additives, while waxing on about cloudiness as a marker of flavour. Although I enjoy wines of this ilk, I'm far more forgiving than I used to be. Gone are the days where I turned my nose at anything over 20PPM sulphur.
Wine still needs to be well made. A winemaker's influence could come from using 20% botrytis affected grapes to give depth, fermenting 100% whole cluster to coax out perfume, or utilizing young vines for freshness. The possibilities are endless. But we need to remember these are still choices dictated by the winemaker. Hanging your hat on grandiose claims of drinking exclusively zero/zero leaves little wine to choose from. It's a dangerous combination of willful ignorance and an all too likely reality you're being bamboozled.
The explosive growth of "natty" has inundated the market with - dare I say it - bad experiments that just taste wrong. Sexy (and sometimes offensive) labels, a hot winemaker and slick marketing have all but left their classic counterparts to lurk on retail shelves and quietly exist on wine menus going relatively unnoticed due in large part to a lack of social media fame. (mostly for not caring to aspire to it or wanting to be found online at all.)
Natural wine consumers now disguise their ignorance with indifference, much to the chagrin of the champions who made it trendy in the first place.
Understanding wine, whether it's natural or not, requires a look to history, and staunch respect for the people who've been making it long before you were DMing your local bottle shop for "something funky and orange."
While you may have heard of some, or all, of these wineries, it's likely you didn't know they made wine in a minimal interventionist fashion.
What does set them apart is a reverence from both natural and conventional lovers alike. Wineries of this echelon need no labels or qualifiers - they just make really, really good wine.