Because your body deserves the best!

Because your body deserves the best!

For all of us, there are transcendent moments in our lives that hide between the mundane ones, that make us truly feel alive. For some of us, this could be a whimsical, impromptu date that forced us out of our comfort zone. For others, the discovery of a new passion, like listening to classical music or learning how to make bread at home. For us at Vinely, the moments that make us truly feel alive are the moments we have with artisanal wine.

Artisanal wine is a sort of mecca – an urban myth that’s floated around social circles for a while now. Others have been lucky to try it, and sing its praises, but it never seems to be you. While artisanal wine may seem like a concept that you’ve only just started hearing whispers about, it’s anything but. Wine like this, in its purest form, has been honored and lauded, the winemakers’ secrets preserved for thousands of years. In fact, wine grown with chemicals and treated with additives is more the outcast – but the 21st century would have you think otherwise.

So, what is artisanal wine? It is a concept borne from tradition and culture that has transformed over the past couple of decades into a passion for local, small-batch, and sustainable. There are many different ways to phrase additive-free wine, and depending on which sommelier you’re talking to, it could be anything. From natural wine, to naked, to low-intervention, to zero manipulation, and even raw wine, there are a variety of ways to say the same thing. The important thing is that you understand what it means to be natural, additive-free. Let’s draw the curtain on a thousand-year-old tradition that makes conventional wine seem irrelevant.

The process of making wine like this is two-fold. First, you grow and pick the grapes, and second, you turn them into wine through fermentation. In order for it to be zero manipulation wine, the grapes must be grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. The grapes are then carefully handpicked without the use of machines, and then fermented to make wine, without any additives or interventions. While some winemakers will add a little sulfite as a preservative, nothing else goes into the winemaking process.

Simple is as simple does, then. Zero manipulation wine couldn’t be more straightforward, really. So why did we veer away from this way of winemaking? Why did we choose to intervene in the process, and add steps that aren’t necessary? Convenience, growth, and industrialization.

You see, when you’re creating something because you’re passionate about it, your heart and soul goes into it. You care about every step of the process, with the hope that the end product will reflect your love of the subject matter. On the flip side of this, if you’re creating something for profit, then your filter is going to be marred by dollar signs. Your perception is going to be warped by thoughts of profitability, efficiency, and productivity. How can the winemaking process be sped up? How can we make sure that every wine we produce is a clone of itself?

This is what’s required for wine to be mass-produced. It is much less a passion than it is a product. It is produced for the consumer on a mass scale, requiring a uniformity that the zero manipulation winemaking process doesn’t allow for. The demand for wine to be convenient and affordable has priced the more natural wines out of the market. Today, there is a list of additives that includes 60 different options for winemakers. This means that winemakers have 60 additives to choose from to place in their wine. Not only is this not as healthy, but this is also going to give you more of a headache in the morning. The beautiful thing about zero manipulation wine is that its naturally healthier, which means you can drink more, be merry, and not deal with the consequences the next day quite as much.

With the growth of population and industrialization, the pendulum began to swing the other way. Convenience and availability trumped local, small-batch wines. Why would you pay more for wine that is difficult to source when you can pay less for a conventional choice from the supermarket?

The pendulum is slowly swinging back, though. There is a movement in the industry to fight against the monopolies who mass produce wine and include additives in their products. People are demanding that their wine is made healthier. The whispers that you hear in your local social circles are getting louder, as more and more people care about the process, it’s effect on their bodies and the environment – and not just the end product.

This is because when you implement zero manipulation and intervene as little as possible, the result is a wine fermented from grapes just as it should be. It hasn’t been interfered with to be perfect – in fact, it may even be a little bit murky. However, it’s going to taste better and be better for you than its cheaper counterparts. It’s been made with love and care – and it shows.

At Vinely, we raise our glasses to small-batch, local artisanal wine. We have moments of mindfulness every day, where we stop to appreciate the value of healthy wine that upholds traditional winemaking practices. We endeavor to seek out those who are passionate about their product and couldn’t care less about profitability. As a wine club, we know that the demand is there for local, organic, and healthier wine and it’s only a matter of time before we come full circle again. Whether it’s in the form of a trend or as part of a bigger cause, it’s time we focused on zero manipulation, not adding as much as we can to wine.

If you want to find out more about local, small-batch wine, stop in at any of Vinely’s wineries for a taste test. Remember, if you’re a Vinely member, taste tests are always complimentary. With Vinely, you can support your local community, and uphold traditional winemaking culture that still has a vital role in the wine industry.

Rachel Sikkema

Rachel Sikkema is Vinely’s storyteller. She loves writing about all things wine and telling the story of local wineries and winemakers. When she's not testing out exciting new labels to write about, she's busy running around after her two young daughters.


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