Sibéal Bird, Origin Green Ambassador, Rome
According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) annual Health & Wellness Trends Survey Consumers increasingly insist upon “real foods;" or in other words those foods and beverages that are natural, have no artificial additives, and have a short list of recognisable ingredients that are both familiar and easy to understand.
Natural’ when used to describe food or drink is a word that means many different things to many different people. When talking about wine, the term is applied to wines in the same vein as organic or biodynamic wines. However unlike organic wines, there are no laws that define ‘natural, it is merely a philosophy or an ethic, not a concrete, regulated concept. All natural wines are farmed organically or biodynamically (incorporates ideas about a vineyard as an entire ecosystem, astrological influences and lunar cycles), free of chemical sprays, free of additives, and fermented with native yeast. Essentially natural wine is one that is naturally grown and naturally made with as little interference as possible.
The magazine Wine Business International (WBI) estimates that natural wine accounts for less than 2% of global sales, however, in certain cosmopolitan hotspots such as New York, Copenhagen, London and Paris – where a small ever increasing group of restaurants and bars advocate nothing but natural – it is very much a thing. Perhaps the wine world will soon stand up and take notice of the many other food and drink categories who have embraced these new consumers who are demanding products free from gluten or dairy or so on, but are refusing to compromise on quality or taste. These ‘free-from’ consumers, who in Britain alone forked out an additional £230m on ‘free-from’ food and drink in 2016, may be worth giving another look as they have the potential to grow the current 2% market share into a much bigger piece of the global wine market pie.