Getty Images Natural wine or low-intervention wine has exploded over the last few years and has proven it is here to stay. From Mexico and Austria, to New Zealand and Puerto Rico, natural wine permeates through all pores of the wine industry. Now, Germany is the latest country to experience a significant emergence of producers following the movement.
What Is Natural Wine?
There is no official definition of natural wine. Generally, however, it’s accepted that the term “natural wine” describes wines made with organic (or biodynamic) grapes that are spontaneously fermented. The result is then bottled without any additives, except for limited amounts of sulfur dioxide up to 50 milligrams per liter (although many don’t use it at all). For more information, check out our beginner’s guide to natural wine.
The Transition to Natural Wine in Germany
Like most countries, Germany does not have a legal definition for natural wine. Typically, the wines are labeled under the Landwein or Deutscher Wein (the German equivalent of table wine) designations, as they don’t meet the rules of the stricter Qualitätswein category.
“I’ve never used sulfur, but I could accept [limited use] for the definition,” says Jakob Tennstedt, of the eponymous winery in the Middle Mosel, who crafts some of the finest Rieslings in low-intervention style today.
Tennstedt continues, “For me, it is really important that if you say you’re making natural wine, the grapes come from organic vineyards.” This is especially true in the Mosel, since most sites are divided between numerous growers and many work conventionally.