🍷 Let’s raise a glass to locally based author Meg Bernhard, who, on Wednesday evening, will read from and sign her new book, “Wine,” at Garagiste in the Arts District. In anticipation of that event, here are a few excerpts of (🎧) our podcast conversation with her from May on the subject of natural wines:
🍇 What is a natural wine versus more familiar, conventional wines?
There's not so much of a stable definition. Natural wine doesn't have a regulatory body, for example; it's more of a philosophy. With natural wine, the idea is you practice minimum human intervention on both the vineyard side of winemaking and the cellar side. That means not having pesticides in the vineyards, and not adding chemicals in the cellar. As a result, your wine might look a little murky, taste a little funky — but the idea is the wine should be something that the earth mostly created.
🍇 It feels like traditional, high-end wine is another way for people to flaunt status and wealth. How is a natural wine different?
With the natural wine ethos, they're attempting to make wine more accessible to the everyday consumer. Often the price point is lower, and they're not so interested in tasting notes; they just want you to be able to drink a wine. But, increasingly, I think, natural wine has itself become a status symbol in a different way — a symbol of youth, being sort of hip and cool. You see that in Los Angeles. And I think you're maybe starting to see that a bit in Vegas.
🍇 I've heard it referred to as “natty” wine, and I'm wondering, on a scale of one to totally douchey, where would I fall if I walked into some spot and asked for their “natty wines”?
I mean, it'd be you and all the L. A. bros with large circular glasses and shorts. I don't know. The beauty of natural wine is that it sort of defies definition or characterization. “Natty” wine is really annoying for me personally, but you hear it a lot, and that's just fine.