Since I can remember, even doctors claim, that a glass of red wine a day has very positive effects on our organism. Does that mean that natural red wine makes wonders to our health? To tell the truth, I don’t believe in healthy food, healthy wine and similar nonsense. We know though, that one can have very unhealthy nutritional habits and lifestyle. Exaggerate with quantities of food, eat the same stuff time and again, be it hamburgers from McDonald’s, or beef from your organic farm and that glass of red means nothing anymore.
Biodynamic vignerons and farmers tend to establish so called equilibrium in their vineyards, fields, plantations. It means balance – no more, no less. To achieve this, they must be very familiar with every specific detail in life of particular plant, soil, interactions between plants and at the end they have to understand how nature functions as a whole. It takes a lot of knowledge, experience, observing and patience in order to practice biodynamic farming successfully. Nature works in a healthy and normal way, when you establish perfect equilibrium. You need no pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilisers, no irrigation in vineyard, … to have high quality crop and sufficient yield.
You don’t need such level of knowledge in order to keep your body healthy and in good physical and mental condition. What you need is regular physical activity and kind attention to your own body. You don’t feel good after eating smoked salami? So avoid it! But don’t avoid any food just because some smart ass wrote somewhere, that it is “scientifically proved” that this and that food isn’t healthy. And vice versa! Although “everybody” claim that mango is extremely healthy, you don’t have to it three of them each day, particularly if you don’t like it. Some people are so obsessed with “healthy” diet, that official medicine recognises that as a nutritional disorder. It was defined in 1997 by dr. Steven Bratman who named it orthorexia (orthorexia nervosa). Simply put, it’s a condition, when person thinks practically only about what would be OK to eat and what would’t in a sense of healthiness. Enjoy moderate quantities of, as diversified foods as possible. Remember though – I wrote enjoy, not force yourself. You will bring your body to nutritional balance only by enjoying food and wine. You will establish your own equilibrium. If you’re not really top athlete, you don’t need no (often very expensive) dietary supplements.
What about natural wines then? Are they healthy or not? Real natural wines are result of very attentive organic or even biodynamic work in vineyard, followed by spontaneous vinification, which takes place in a very clean environment, which doesn’t mean though, that the cellar is sterile. On the contrary! It is full of indigenous yeast and microorganisms, who belong there. Natural vigneron wouldn’t want to contaminate must and cellar by yeast or even aromatic yeast and microorganisms which are not “domestic”. One vinification by adding yeast (bought ones) is enough, to contaminate the cellar forever. Natural wines have very little or nothing added sulphur and are clean of all possible chemicals, which are otherwise legally and regularly used in vineyards, as well as cellars in case of conventional winemaking.
So. Natural wine is a healthy product or result of spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic (in most cases) fermentation. Healthy in a sense that it is not ill and full of additives and residues of pesticides, herbicides and other chemical interventions be it in vineyard or cellar. Natural wine can be very invigorating for our body, but only when it is included or part of the mosaic of our nutritional diversity.
One of the main advantages of natural wines is just that – diversity. The same grape varieties give very different wines, depending where they come from. Here you won’t find chardonnays, whose taste hadn’t changed for five, ten or more vintages. Taste, smell, often even colour of natural wine made from the same variety, change from year to year, even with the same producer. Natural and climate conditions are never exactly the same. We could define natural wines healthy from that perspective.
Hedonism or enjoying life within normal boundaries makes us satisfied, content, which is prerequisite for healthy body and sane, positive spirit. It is theatre for some, hiking for others, it can be reading good book and for some of us it is good wine and pristine food. But only when we enjoy it.