Natural Wines That Taste as Good as They Look

If you haven't gone au natural yet, it's time to start.

One of the things I missed most in the throes of social distancing was chatting with the experts at my local wine shop while they helped me pick out the perfect bottle for whatever occasion I was shopping for. After I described my ideal funky, chilled red or the cloudy orange creamsicle of my dreams, they'd usually hand me something from their "natural" section. I became obsessed with tracking down obscure bottles and ordering in bulk from far-off places, and the more I find out about the process of making these whimsical wines that are more popular than ever, the more I want to drink. (If you're interested in vegan wine, check out our picks for those here.)

Natural or "low-intervention" wine is having a major moment, and while there's no legal term to define the process, it's pretty straightforward. For a wine to be considered "natural," winemakers must forgo adding anything to the wine in the cellar that's not naturally occurring: think preservative, additives, or chemicals. They also must not remove anything. These wines are even more hands-off than most organic options, which require a USDA certification that they've been grown on an organic farm that forgoes the use of certain fertilizers and pesticides. (Basically, all natural wines are organic, but all organic wines aren't natural. Following?)

This homegrown form of winemaking means that there's a lot more room for variation from bottle to bottle, which makes picking up something new to drink with dinner much more unpredictable—and fun, too. Each wine, even from the same vintage, presents a new opportunity to be surprised by the variation in notes, cloudiness, and color. And while I'm not about to drop money on some vino just because it looks pretty, many of these smaller winemakers just happen to have some amazing art on their labels. So whether you want to show up to Friendsgiving with something funky to satisfy your group's 'wine guy' or impress someone new with a stellar drink pairing, we've rounded up some tasty natural options for every mood.