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France officially recognises natural wine

After a decade of lobbying by the wine industry, ‘natural’ wines have finally been formally recognised by the French authorities.

‘Natural’ wines have to come from hand-picked grapes from certified organic vines and be made with indigenous yeast

As reported by Wine Business, wines that fall within the new denomination will be marketed using the term, ‘vin méthode nature’.

A Natural Wines Union has been created in collaboration with the French Ministry for Agriculture and the French National Institute for Origins and Quality. Headed up by Loire Valley vintner Jacques Carroget, the union has established a list of criteria dedicated to the new designation.

Wines that qualify will be able to use this logo on their bottles

Existing European regulations prohibit the use of the term ‘natural’ wine on labels, so the Natural Wines Union came up with the term ‘vin méthode nature’.

The denomination will be subject to a three-year trial period. In order to use the term ‘vin méthode nature’ on labels, the wine has to be produced from hand-picked grapes from certified organic vines and made with indigenous yeast.

The following practices are prohibited during the winemaking process: cross-flow filtration, flash pasteurisation, thermovinification and reverse osmosis.

Up to 30 mg/l of sulfites are allowed in all types of wine. To differentiate between natural wines that contain sulfites and those that are sulphite-free, two logos have been created indicating whether or not the product contains sulfites.

Every year an external entity will control the bottled wine applying for the designation. If the wine has not conformed to the regulations, it has to be marketed as a different brand so as not to mislead consumers.

Over 100 French wine brands are expected to be marketed as ‘vin méthode nature’ in the coming months, with Spanish and Italian wineries expected to follow suit.

“The first wines bearing the designation were made last year by vintners who agreed before the harvest to fulfill its requirements,” Sebastien David, one of the founding members of the Natural Wines Union, told Wine Business.

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