Ep. 1590 What Does ‘Natural’ Mean In Wine | Everybody Needs A Bit Of Scienza

Welcome to Episode 1590, where Prof. Scienza discusses his upcoming seminar on wine2wine Business Forum 2023, What Does ‘Natural’ Mean In Wine? How To Engage Wine Lovers With Science.

The seminar’s abstract:
The European Commission has prohibited the use of the words “natural wine” on labels in Europe. Why? Primarily because there exists an underlying misunderstanding about what “natural” actually refers to in the wine sector. One side of the argument sees “natural” wines as those with zero interventions (i.e., no chemicals, no sulfites, no pesticides, etc.), while forgetting that the harvest, fermentation and bottling processes all involve human intervention. The other side of the argument says the only wines that are truly “natural” must be those made from wild vines with no genetic selection over time – and these wines simply do not exist.
While both arguments can be viewed as extreme, both have at heart a desire for sustainability, care for the environment and attention to the health of consumers. Recent trends, especially among young/new wine consumers and often fuelled by social media, point to an emphasis on the desire for “wholesome” food and beverage products that demonstrate a respect for nature and consumers’ health. These trends are not new, but the escalation of focus on these issues has caused a battle with existing consumers who value and recognize the key sensory references basic to the traditional evaluation of wine. Producers of “natural” wines contribute to the confusion by ignoring both sides of the argument and insisting that their winemaking choices stem solely from their beliefs about how wines should be made.
Is “natural” wine a myth? A marketing ploy? The darling of social media? If we focus on the “naturalness” of wine, do we risk foregoing ground-breaking research on precision viticulture, technique and technology that could represent the most effective way to enhance the terroir while respecting environmental and economic sustainability? How do we combat fake news and alarmism? We must address the great shortage of trainers and communicators who combine technical skills with the ability to make themselves not only understood, but also to fascinate those who listen or read.

If you want to learn more about the Professor:
The one who checks all the facts and regulates when we mistakenly type “Verdicchio” in place of “Vermentino.” Attilio Scienza is a full professor at the University of Milan in the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences where he teaches courses on genetic improvements to the vine; he also teaches Viticulture in the Master’s program of the University of Turin in Asti. He has been the lead for many national research projects in the field of physiology, agricultural techniques, and vine genetics. As the author of over 350 publications on vine and viticulture in national and international journals, you can bet he knows his stuff!

To find out more about Attilio Scienza visit:

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