Raw Wine - A New Game Or Back To Basics?

Lately, raw wine (some call it organic wine, natural wine, or biodynamic wine) has arrived at the locus of the mainstream culture - vegan and organic wine / brews have gained popularity. In HK, a few wine shops and bars - Cork Culture, La Cabane and LQV, which follows and leads the trend, have been pushing this fashionable concept to consumers via grand tasting and social media.

Natural wine is affordable, easier to drink, fashionable and yet so abstract and funky, in terms of its taste and wine label design, to the extent that old-fashioned wine drinkers actually resent it. But if you're looking for new flavors in wine, perhaps you should try this new category.

The influence of natural wine has been far reaching since Jura wine was having a comeback. New wine regions, such as Georgia and Croatia are jockeying to produce "THE BEST" natural wine while a new group of hip Burgundy and Beaujolais growers have also switched to organic farming. Even now Bordeaux and a majority of vineyards in Languedoc are deliberately following this revolutionary movement.

Iago Wine from Georgia

Jean Foillard’s Cuvée 3.14 from Beaujolais (Organic certified)

(Jane Anson's new book "Wine Revolution")

Wine writers like Jane Anson (Twitter: @newbordeaux) has also published her new book "Wine Revolution", which featured 450 biodynamic wine producers worldwide. 

But as an ordinary drinker, how much do you actually know about raw / natural wine? 

When wine was first made 8,000 years ago, it was not made using packets of yeasts, vitamins, enzymes, Mega Purple, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction or powdered tannins – some of the many additives and processes used in winemaking worldwide.  The wines of these bygone days were natural: they were made from crushed grapes that fermented into wine. (Source: Raw Wine. Twitter: @isabellelegeron)

According to Decanter:

• Vineyards farmed organically or biodynamically – certification was strongly preferred, but uncertified wines were accepted
• Hand-harvested only
• Fermentation with indigenous (wild) yeasts
• No enzymes
• No additives added (such as acid, tannin, colouring) other than SO2
• SO2 levels no higher than 70mg/l total
• Unfined, and no (or light) filtration
• No other heavy manipulation (such as spinning cone, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, rapid-finishing, Ultraviolet C irradiation)

In short, Natural wine is here to stay as a small but significant niche; the logical development of a back-to-the-roots movement that began with organic agriculture’s popularisation in the 1970s. It’s a term of convenience; two simple words to describe a complex, sprawling ideology that includes organic and biodynamic viticulture, minimal intervention in the winery, and sometimes radical views on sulphur dioxide.

Based on our observation on Instagram and Twitter, natural wine (vin naturel) is growing popularity rapidly in Japan because it's light and less-oaky perfect to go with seafood-dominated cuisine. Whereas China has yet picked up this culture, simply because Chinese prefers heavier and stronger taste in wine. It will probably take a long time for them to learn and appreciate the uniqueness of raw wine. 

So are we moving towards a new wine fashion or rolling backward embracing the basic concept of winemaking?


Stay tuned to our next blog on Raw Wine from the Mediterranean Region - Turkey.







Raw Wine:


Biody Vin:


The Morning Claret:




Author: Cass Lam
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