As the popularity of natural wines continues to explode, more and more wineries are starting to get in on the action. Some, like the Natural Wine Club, are taking this a step further by offering natural wine lovers the chance to co-own a wine club that delivers fresh, small batch natural wine straight to their home. Natural wine clubs are popping up all over the world, with different groups of wine enthusiasts banding together to buy wine directly from wineries.
The revolt against traditional farming and high-tech winemaking continues its march into the mainstream. Over the past decade, search engine results for natural wine, which has no official designation in the United States, have steadily increased.
Last year, when the pandemic forced people out of bars and restaurants, producer-driven wine clubs with minimal intervention were a logical option. Of the growing number of stores, bars and direct-to-consumer businesses offering natural wine, here are the top five.
Natural Action Marlene Porter and Simone Mitchelson / Photo: Mark Velazquez
Last summer, colleagues Simonne Mitchelson and Justin Trabue founded a nonprofit natural wine club with winemakers Eric Bach, Cameron Porter and Marlene Porter, art curator Khalil Kinsey and wine bar owner Theron Stephenson. The purpose of the event was to support members of the BIPOC community pursuing careers in the wine world, with proceeds going towards education and internships.
So far, ethically grown wines with minimal interference have come primarily from California winemakers such as Amplify Wines of Santa Maria, Good Boy Wines of Los Angeles, Scar of the Sea of San Luis Obispo and Solminer de Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley. Each bottle has a unique label designed by BIPOC’s historic designers and artists.
Details: $150 for a set of four bottles. Published quarterly. Delivery in all states except Arkansas, Alaska, Hawaii and Utah.
Selected wines from Dorst / Photo: Noah Kvortrup
The 10-year-old boutique in New York’s Fort Greene neighborhood has expanded its long-established delivery club in the past year. Each month, Noah Kwortrup, the store’s general manager and wine buyer, selects seven bottles from the shelves. He uses it to tailor shipments of four bottles based on members’ preferences and feedback from previous bottles.
Monthly themes can be region, grape variety or producer, and the wines are accompanied by tasting notes and winemaking information. All wines come from organic or biodynamic farms where fair trade is practiced. Previous consignments have included Jordy Kay from Australia, Domaine Geschickt from Alsace and Finca Las Payas from Argentina.
Details: $98 for a set of four bottles, available monthly. Delivery in all states except Alabama, Alaska, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont.
Doreen Winkler by Orange Glou / Photo by Sam Ortiz and Orange Glou
While orange wine is not necessarily natural, all Orange Glou varieties are made with minimal intervention. Sommelier Doreen Winkler fell in love with wines with skin contact after attending shows like La Dive Bouteille in the Loire region of France and RAW wine in New York, so she founded the club in November 2019. Previous selections include Slovenian producer Radikon, Bloomer Creek from New York State, Matassa from Roussillon, and Donkey & Goat and End of Nowhere from California. Winkler offers monthly options of three or six bottles, as well as one-time surprise cases. The wines are accompanied by tasting notes, wine information and food recommendations – she is a sommelier after all.
Details: $105 for three bottles, $195 for six bottles, available monthly. Or $115 and $205 for a unique surprise box. Delivery in all states except Alaska, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, South Dakota and Utah.
Guido Cattabianchi, founder of Primal Wine. / Photo courtesy of Primal Wine
While it’s easy to find natural wines in Los Angeles and New York, Primal Wine’s owner, Guido Cattabianchi, wanted to help the rest of America as well. The e-commerce site, launched in September 2018, fills that gap. Born and raised in Valpolicella, Italy, Cattabianchi represents natural wine with a European twist. It adheres to the principles of the Italian association Vinnatur, which considers labour rights, growing conditions and sustainable development to be as important as the sulphite content. He plans to make the company carbon neutral by the end of the year.
Participants can choose between red (unfilled and carbonated), white (unfilled and carbonated) and mixed bottles. Past consignments include Meinklang, Cantina Indigeno, Controvento, Cantina Giardino, Alessandro Viola, Fond Cypress, Etnella, Marc Kreydenweiss, Cirelli, Il Farneto, Il Folicello, Gearhead Wines and Purity Wine.
Details: $85 for three bottles, $155 for six bottles or $285 for 12 bottles. Available every month. Delivery in all states except Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Utah.
MYSA Wines / Photo via @hellopiacere
MYSA Natural Wine, founded in January 2019 by Holly Berrigan and Nick Jansson, is a wine club and e-commerce platform. It draws attention to small producers who make natural wines from grapes grown on sustainable farms with minimal intervention. The site’s continued growth peaked when the pandemic broke out in March 2020 and MYSA quadrupled its membership. Options include product supplies only available in orange or red, as well as various packaging options. Members can also purchase bottles à la carte at 10% off MYSA store prices.
MYSA has recently introduced digital tasting cards to replace the paper versions and includes videos. This decision coincided with the company’s commitment to the 1% for the Planet program and the Carbon Project. Recent box wines include The Marigny, Broc Cellars, Le Fraghe, Costador and Flat Brim.
Details: $84.95 for three bottles, $139.95 for six bottles or $249.95 for 12 bottles. Available per month, two months or three months. The expedition went to all states except Alaska, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Hawaii and Utah.
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