Confessions of a Natty Novice

Mollie Burdell
Confessions of a Natty Novice

Hi, my name is Mollie and I know absolutely nothing about natural wine.

Let’s just get this clear. I absolutely love wine. So much so, I fear I see my future self
as one of ‘those mums’ whose idea of modern art is decorating the family home with alcohol-related quotes, included but not limited to: “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” “Wine! Because no great story started with eating a salad.” “Wine made me do it.” “Don’t cry over spilt milk. It could have been wine.” The list, unfortunately, goes on.

It’s my ultimate vice which, by definition, leads to moral depravity and corruption, and that sounds about right after knocking back a few bottles of the finest Tesco has to offer with the use of my Clubcard. Maybe my blissful ignorance would have
continued if not for the fact my brother George is a co-founder of this very company, and who seems to grow more knowledgeable on the subject matter by the second – ‘tannin’, ‘maceration’ and ‘time on the skins’ is now part of his day-to-day vocabulary. Don’t worry, I’m still just as confused too.

The turning point came when George came over from Berlin to stay at mine and my husband Ed’s flat for a couple of weeks. I’ve recently become obsessed with a
nutritionist called Tim Spector, who regularly talks about the dangers of eating ultra-
processed foods and non-organic fruit and veg. “It’s just awful,” I exclaimed one
evening whilst preparing dinner. “Most of the things you’d consider fresh produce at
the supermarket have been sprayed to an inch of their life in herbicides and
pesticides – Ed, can I have a top up?” It was here George began to lay out the irony
of me proudly adding locally grown spinach into my lovingly handmade curry, while
chugging down a glass of Yellow Tail shiraz. “Did you know most wines are highly
processed and are filled with toxic trace chemicals that can carry serious health
risks?” He had a point.

It was then I realised there must be others like me out there. Who have become
more conscious of the food they eat, but their selection of wines is yet to catch up.
Who like to pair their food with an accompanying wine but hastily reach for the
cheapest and easiest option. Who, after hours, like to get to a level of drunk they will happily perform solo renditions of Les Mis’ ‘One Day More’ but suffer the
consequences of ordering in the first option Gorilla’s has to offer come morning.
Guilty as charged. “It’s all the sulphates they pump into them.” Thanks George. So
here begins a journey of self-discovery. And by that, I mean for me to really
understand what it means for wine to be classified as ‘natty’ – that means ‘natural’ by the way, get with it guys. What is the real difference between the cheap and cheerful we reach for in the supermarkets to the ones that have a higher price tag but have lovingly hand grown and picked without the use of additives?

I want a deeper understanding of the way these wines are produced, the grapes that go into them, the wine makers putting it all into action and everything in between.

So, whose coming along for the ‘complex’ ride? It’s a wine term, look it up.