Interview: Martin Wörner and Alanna Lagamba of Marto wines

Interview: Martin Wörner and Alanna Lagamba of Marto wines

Last Sunday, the Berlin community assembled for a SIPS hangout at the Friends Space, Kreuzberg with our dear friends Martin and Alanna of Marto wines. Around a hundred people showed up to taste the 2022 vintage, mingling with the winemakers to hear more about the wines straight from the source. Tobi Beck took us back to childhood by serving his toast Hawaii and Rita brought the vibes playing vinyl for us during the course of the afternoon. We sat down for a little conversational q&a about natural wine, the dogma surrounding it and a look into where wine is headed. 

Clara: Why natural wine? How did you get into it? 

Martin: Over time my tastes developed as a wine drinker towards wines that are made "naturally". I started with classic wines and were always looking for wines that transport a sense of place and authenticity. After years of drinking my taste changed and I could tell that you should manipulate wine as little as possible. It was very exciting to discover a whole new world of wine that I really love. Wine becomes full circle between the weather, the Soil, the plant, the human, bacterias and yeasts. There is so much to learn and to get better everyday that I probably will never end wondering how to make the perfect wine. For me the perfect wine is made just from grapes. Because it's so complex, many things can go wrong and I understand winemakers or wine drinkers who don't want to take that risk, but I want to. 

Clara: What exactly does that term mean to you?

Martin: The term Natural Wine means for me the highest craft of making wine. I am thinking of legendary Producers like Labet. Natural wine and Fine wine become one at some point. To make a stable, good tasting wine just from grapes starts with a lot of knowledge about farming and there are many fuckups to make until the wine is enjoyed by somebody.

Clara: Some people have a negative opinion of the natural wine movement, What is it, in your opinion, that holds natural wine back?

Martin: Many things! It doesn't have to be everybody's favourite wine only because its Natural Wine. It can be shit, but the term natural assumes that it always has to better as something "unnatural".
Alanna: Another thing that holds natural wine back, in my personal opinion is dogma. People are really quick to denounce something they don’t know. And there needs to be less dogma. Wine needs to be an open thing you can talk about and everyone can like. And there needs to be more tolerance for taste. I think that’s a problem in wine, that everyone thinks they know and the wine world, especially the natural wine world, is full of dogma. Wine should be just simple fun!

Clara: In Berlin, we are here in quite a small bubble by comparison to the natural wine movement globally and other markets you operate in. What’s your export business like to other countries and where is that heading off to mostly?

Martin: France and as the Capital Paris, with its gastronomy and french Pioneer Winemakers - they have global influence. That idea of pleasure is spreading in all metropolises on that Planet.
Alanna: I have no idea what Martin meant about Paris? We sell wine there but USA and Japan are our cash cows. But yeah Paris is definitely cool!

Clara: Where does the winery fall on the scale of niche natural winemaker versus large scale conventional domaine?

Alanna: We are still very very niche in comparison to the greater wine world, we do everything ourselves by hand so we can have an overview and control of every process. We are not so good at delegating

Clara: Talk to me about the 2022 vintage? 

Alanna: I wish every year was like 22'. The hotter and dryer, the better!

Martin: 2022 was a hot and dry year that made farming quite easy. No diseases and healthy fruit. Fermentation therefore was very slow and difficult but time always helps. 

Clara: Where do you see the future of the wine industry heading?

Alanna: The wine industry in general, I think in a world of many uncertainties, be it with the global political order, and climate change, many wineries globally will suffer. Many will shut down, we see it already starting to happen slowly. In this way, I think we are very blessed and in a very lucky position, and I hope it is only onwards and up!

Photography by Ryan Molnar 

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