Natural wine is an important, growing if still slightly niche trend. Natural winemakers often use organic/biodynamic methods in the vineyards but are opposed to any form of independent certification. With no one checking on what they do ‘natural’ winemakers run the risk of being seen as opportunistic, jumping on the green bandwagon without having to jump through any bureaucractic hoops.
Their main focus is on making wine in as “natural” a way as possible by reducing or eliminating any additives, the main one being sulfur dioxide (sulfites). This preservative allows wine to age in bottle longer, but may cause allergic reactions in a small minority of drinkers (there is no evidence to suggest sulfur dioxide adds to the “hangover” effect).
If you are worried about sulfites look for wines labelled “no added sulfites” or “no detectable sulfites.” See also the Orange Wines, below.
Biodynamic rules force winemakers to use minimal intervention in the winery not just in the wine but water for cleaning, energy use for pumps, new barrels, and packaging (bottles, capsules, boxes, even the type of ink on the label).