Viticulture - Wine and Emotions

Good evening, Alice Feiring

14 January 2020

After having read your article “Is Natural Wine Dead? The movement, built on honesty and simplicity, is being corrupted by opportunists”, I felt it was necessary to respond,  also because I am a sixth generation wine producer of what today is called ‘natural’ wine (minimal intervention in vineyard and wine cellar, great respect for the surrounding environment, artisanal, solid experience and skills, embracing transparency towards the consumer).   After almost one and a half centuries of working this way, it is now starting to be appreciated in Italy and other parts of the world.

Having said this, I find your opinion to be quite ironic: in fact, ‘natural’ wine has never existed and therefore cannot be considered … dead. It is abstract terminology which can have misleading consequences. Yet this word has had, unexpectedly, a rapid success. All over the world, in less than 3 decades, consumers, especially younger ones, are on the search for a more balanced lifestyle, attention to how food is produced, and in this context wine has become an example of excellence.  I believe that if beans, cereal or an animal product would use this word, it would have much less notoriety.

I can personally admit to have witnessed this trend, especially in Japan, starting in the mid 80’s. It does not seem feasible to give up using this term; likewise, it would be complex to follow through with legislation, but let’s leave that to law makers. An example of a pertinent transparent procedure is the Corino Method, aka “ Metodo Corino” (IT- Patent, 2019).

For the remainder, I’d say that it is best that this ‘natural wine’  movement runs its course; it is already part of history and, besides, this return to authenticity, ethic values, wholesome food, respect for the environment, and all things good will remain as an example to future generations: call that nothing? It’s an epic revolution that’s involving the whole world! It’s a fantastic result, after many decades of having dismantled the basic principles of good cultural practices, also in wine production, a product surely not fundamental to human being survival. 

The agriculture entrepreneur was always mindful of production costs and sales’ impact on financial results. Yet, the result of these production decisions have had their side effects, like the loss of soil capacity, desertification, pollution, loss of biodiversity and health consequences of workers and consumers.  

Your raising the red flag to corruption and opportunism in the world of ‘natural wine’ leaves me with my last comment. The most ancient history about wine also involved crimes and deception, and it has never shaken itself free from this habit. The facts still demonstrate man’s thirst for money by abusing principles and good traditions and ready to jump on the winner’s bandwagon.   

I would like to emphasize that among “natural wine” producers there are miserable, lying merchants that could be easily exposed, however there also exists enormous ranks of exemplary and silent producers that undertake an extraordinary human effort: we must recognize them and give them all encouragement and support possible.  

Finally, I would like to suggest to re-read the great italian poet,  Giacomo Leopardi’s, “Panegyric of birds” (1824): I think it has an important lesson for us all.

My best wishes for a prosperous 2020.


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