Natural wine

In the West (and more often in Bulgaria, too), so-called "natural wine" is very popular: a category that is slightly difficult to define, referring to ethics rather than a label. One of the best descriptions of the term "natural wine" is "wine to which nothing has been added and nothing has been taken away from." Natural wine is largely a philosophical concept based on categories such as respect for the terroir, respect for Nature (using appropriate organic or biodynamic preparations in the vineyard and cellar), minimalist approach to vinification (in terms of minimizing or complete exclusion of biotech methods and means in the making of wine) and so on. Some of the European organizations of natural winemakers such as the French S.A.I.N.S. completely exclude additives to wine, including sulphites; others such as the Italian VinNatur, allow only the use of sulphites in minimal doses, excluding anything else, even yeasts. The philosophy behind natural wine is called "savoir non faire" - knowing how to minimize human and technological intervention in both wine growing and making, and treating it in the most gentle, harmless way for it to be the most genuine, authentic related to the energy of its terroir.

Vin de Garage (or "of the cellar", in Bulgarian)

Is home-made wine natural wine? The answer is “It depends”. Back in times, all the wines have been natural, of course, since no yeast, enzymes, tannins, or other oenological products existed. The wines that our ancestors had once made, have been more than natural. Nowadays, the purchase of wine from Uncle X from the village of Y is no guarantee of naturalness at all. Many small rural wine growers do not use chemistry in their vineyards and spray them only with lime-based mixtures and blue stone, and do not add stabilizers nor additives to the wine, but there are some who do so. Moreover, without the necessary technical training and knowledge, with dubious results. Direct contact with the grower and knowledge of the practices he performs in the vineyard and the cellar are the most secure guarantee for the quality and naturalness of the wine.

Organic wine

Organic wine is produced from organic grapes, which means that the vineyard is treated only with the products allowed by the EU Regulation on organic production and only the additives permitted by the Regulation may be used in the cellar. Organic wine is not a wine produced without any preparations and additives at all; simply only controlled and limited products may be used. Permitted agronomic preparations are so-called "roof" preparations based on copper and sulphur, for they do not penetrate the tissues of the vines, are are easily washed away by an intense and long rain, and a new spraying will be needed. With organic wines, it is allowed to add sulphites to certain standards, certified bio-tannins, enzymes, yeasts, and so on. Organic wines are made both by small craft wine cellars and by industrial wineries. To bear the "bio" label the wine has to be certified and monitored by special certification bodies.

Biodynamic wine

Biodynamics is based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who lived in Austria at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th Century. Its leading idea is that healthy, energetic wine can only be ‘born’ by healthy, energetic grapes, which in turn can only be achieved on a healthy, energetic terrain. The revitalization of the soil, the recovery of the humus layer and the natural balance and vitality of the terrain is the main goal of biodynamics. Intensive agriculture, pesticides and chemicals deplete soils and take away from their forces and, over time, its life power declines, microorganisms die and it becomes sterile. Dead soil cannot give birth to live wine full of energy. With the help of special biodynamic treatments/preparations on a natural basis and through the technique of dynamization, biodynamics seeks to return life back to the soil. A true goal is even more profound and sublime: according to Steiner, only by feeding on clean, energetic, live food a person can accumulate enough energy to be able to fulfil his higher mission: to perform a jump into mind and develop their hidden potentials. The biodynamic method is used by many of the small craftsmen producers around the world, and in recent times, with the higher interest in it, it is also applied by large wineries, in many cases the motivation is more of a marketing nature.

 

Craft Wine

In France and Italy, very common is the term vigneron/vignaiolo, meaning a person who cultivates a vineyard and makes wine from it. In Bulgarian, the closest word would be a "winemaker". Unlike organic and biodynamic wine that can be made also by large wineries (Biodynamics to a lesser degree, as its correct implementation is difficult to follow on a large scale), artisanal wine is made only by small producers. It may be organic/biodynamic, as it may be or may not be, it is not included in its definition. Craft wine suggests a strong link between the winemaker, the vineyard and the wine, the quantities are limited, and the wines have a personal appearance. Many of the world's best wines are made by wine makers in small craftsmen cellars. Nearly all of them apply natural methods of work in the vineyard and the cellar, with or without certification, convinced that by listening only to Nature and Terroir, wine turns into music.