what is natural wine?

some insight from your favorite Phoenix natural wine shop, Monsoon Market

What is natural wine, you may ask…. whispers of “biodynamic farming” and “orange wine” may have been uttered by a friend or colleague that leave you contemplating questions like what actually is in the wine we have been drinking for years? What constitutes a natural wine selection from an unnatural one? How can you tell the difference? Where do you go to find natural wine?

Natural wine is, more than anything else, a mindset and careful approach to winemaking. You’ll find winemakers all around the world who believe in minimal intervention from the vineyard to the cellar, typically making natural wines with organic grapes without the use of additives, fining, or filtration. More common practices of natural winemaking include minimal to no sulfur added to each wine bottle, hand harvesting grapes versus using machines, no use of harsh pesticides or herbicides in the vineyards, using native yeast to kickstart fermentation naturally, the list goes on and on. All of this results in honest, unique and really delicious juice to sip on. We often say here at the market that natural wine is a spectrum. Some wines can lean really tart, tangy, with lots of sour fruits and mouth-watering acidity. Others will taste more approachable with bold fruit and well-roundedness, not unlike the pinot noir you often pick up from the grocery store, but without all the unnecessary additives.

what is orange wine?

Skin contact wine, or orange wine, is taking over as another deemed “trend”, but its history traces as far back as 8000 years ago. White grapes are fermented with the skins left on for anywhere from several days to several months, elevating the palette, texture, weight, and aroma of the wine. During this process, the color of the wine changes and varies in orange hue – anything from a light pale yellow to full on golden amber in your glass. In Georgia, wines were often fermented and aged in qvevri, or large clay amphoras. Some winemakers still continue to choose these vessels over other winemaking methods to create extremely dynamic and complex wines.

how do i know which natural wines are good?

If you spot us out at a wine bar, we will most likely be scanning the wine list feverishly looking for skin contact juice to drink while we catch up on what new reality tv show has captured our attention. Orange wine is notoriously good with spicy cuisine, so next time you’re in pajamas wondering what to eat for dinner, order in some Thai or Indian food and pair it with your local wine shops current bottle hyper-fixation. Host some friends or family, lay out some of your favorite snacks on the table, and have an impromptu natural wine tasting. The options are endless! Let us remind you that drinking wine is a delightful journey down the rabbit hole into an entirely new world, one we are more than happy to stay in forever, laughing and savoring every sip.

are there natural wine shops in Phoenix?

Here in Phoenix, we like natural wines that are crushable, full of flavor and most importantly, accessible and affordable. In the peak summer months, it’s a no brainer to seek out anything refreshing to help cool us off and distract from the thought of another day in 100+ degree temperatures. Good thing the market has excellent air conditioning and dozens of chilled bottles. Our wine curation stays fresh and rotating constantly so next time you need some natural wine come to Monsoon Market, we’re open 7 days/week in Central Phoenix.