Over the last few years, natural wine has grown to be the darling of many sommeliers, found even in the most traditional of dining establishments. But what makes natural wine stand out is that it represents more of a social movement than a fleeting trend. Natural Wine makers aim to celebrate the beauty of imperfect wine, and create a healthier, more natural wine in the process.

What is Natural Wine?

It’s the purest form of wine production, using minimal intervention. The grapes used are handpicked by small, independent producers at sustainable, organic, or biodynamic vineyards. During the fermentation process, nothing is added: no yeast, sulfites, or other additives. This causes natural wine to appear cloudy or even dirty — nothing like the clear, smooth of a traditional wine. Additionally, natural wine is more sour than its orthodox counterpart. Often, natural wine tastes more like kombucha or beer than anything else.

Some of the most commonly featured natural wines include orange wine, which is a white wine in which the grape skins remain in contact with the juice during its creation (the source of the drink’s orange hue). Yet this is just one of the thousands of variations of natural wine on the market. Since there’s no official definition of what natural wine means, to really understand what you’re drinking, you should ask a natural wine purveyor what went into creating your bottle. While natural wine has caused a lot of commotion in recent years, it’s actually an age-old process — people have been fermenting grapes without using additives for thousands of years.

It’s no secret that “organic” and “all-natural” are keywords that consumers flock to. The funky, cloudy substance is representative of the trend’s goals: celebrating imperfections. The dirtier the wine comes out, the purer it’s viewed as. In today’s world, where perceptions are distorted by social media or photoshop, the natural wine trend offers a refreshing take on standards of beauty, taste, and conventionality. So, while natural wine may have risen to popularity only over the last few years, it looks like this trend may be here to stay.