You’ve probably been hearing a lot of buzz about natural wines lately. And whether you’ve embraced these funky, often organically or biodynamically grown vinos or the term “natural wine” has you scratching your head, the fifth-annual Colorado Natural Wine Week is a great chance to find out more. From April 16 through 21, the Colorado Natural Wine Consortium will host multiple events on the Front Range where you can sample, buy, and learn about natural wines from across the globe. (Currently, not much natural wine is being produced in-state; Hotchkiss’ Jack Rabbit Hill Farm has a focus on biodynamic techniques but isn’t participating in this year’s event.)
To get you started: What does natural wine mean? It refers to how the beverage is produced from vine to bottle. While there’s some debate and variance on what constitutes “natural,” generally, you can think of these wines as having had nothing added nor taken away during the production process. That means no pesticides on the grapes in the field and no additives thrown in during fermentation. Whereas large-scale wine producers often use additives to better control the color, taste, and smell of their finished products, natural winemakers opt for low intervention which typically results in more unique flavor profiles—natural wines are often compared to sour beers. According to Nate Klatt, owner of Denver-based distributor and Colorado Natural Wine Consortium co-founder, Harvest Wine Company, the natural wine movement is something of a “throwback to pre-industrial agriculture.”
The increased availability of natural wine here in Denver has many industry folks, including Mary Wright, who co-owns the Source’s RiNo Yacht Club, overjoyed. “Denver is finally gaining more access to delicious, well made, and exciting natural wines—some having been available in other major cities for quite some time,” Wright says. “Natural wine reflects the growing demand for transparency, consumer safety, and products made with integrity.”
Thirsty yet? Natural Wine Week offers a variety of events, from a Boulder Natural Wine Crawl (which will stop at Corrida, Bramble & Hare, and Arcana, among others) to the Wine Dive For Charity at Vesper Lounge (which benefits Water For People). The highlight of the week is the Grand Showcase on Wednesday, April 18, at Space Gallery (400 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088). Over 200 natural wines from all over the world will be uncorked for tasting. Learn directly from dozens of winemakers, sommeliers, and other wine professionals as you sample your way across the deliciously different spectrum of natural wines.