The RAW Natural Wine Fair (the successor to The Natural Wine Fair 2011) is happening on the Sunday and Monday 20/21st May at the Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL.
It’s open to the public on the Sunday at £20 a head, and the Monday is a trade only day. It’s being organised by Isabelle Legeron, Master of Wine and co-founder of last year’s fair. It is billed as an artisan fair showcasing individual distinctive producers making wines with minimal intervention.
Isabelle has set out to make this year’s fair truly independent and open to everybody, which is a welcome relief from last year’s somewhat restricted offerings. There will be winemakers from all the main regions plus lesser known ones like Croatia and Georgia, and there will likely be a much better representation of quality and styles.
Highlight of the show – Monsieur Amphora!
A major highlight of the show will be the attendance of Philippe Viret “Mr Amphora”. Philippe and his father Alain are famous for their unique system of Cosmoculture of course, which is a blend of biodynamic farming principles with the harnessing of telluric energies which they feed into the vineyard. This helps them produce perfect fruit which has enabled them to produce completely chemical free wines of the highest quality which are not only delicious and actively good for you, but will keep in good condition for years. Many natural wines are highly prone to oxidation, but Philippe’s unique methods enable him to avoid this problem.
Their Domain Viret wines are sulphite free and vegan friendly – everything that goes into the vines (and wine) is completely natural and Philippe does not use any additional oenological products whatsoever. They have patented their Cosmoculture system as a certifying body as a welcome alternative to “organic” or Demeter’s biodynamic. EU certified organic wines are open to manipulation in the winery (including the addition of chemicals including sulphites), and so are biodynamic to a lesser degree.
Cosmoculture is far stricter and doesn’t allow any artificial additives whatsoever. We hope that other wineries decide this is the certification they would like to use as it means a lot more than biodynamic and is a guarantee of “naturalness”.
But Philippe Viret doesn’t stop there! He has been pioneering the rejuvenation of an old Roman technique of fermenting individual batches of wine in small clay amphoras, each roughly the size of a large man. The wines are quite amazing, and it is still early days. All Philippe’s wines seem to get better each vintage so his amphora wines will no doubt become something very special very quickly.
Perhaps the best news is that Domain Viret wines are available to purchase online in the UK through sulphite free and boutique wine specialist www.goodwineonline.co.uk . And they’re at affordable prices starting at under £10 per bottle! If you’re attending the fair make a point of searching out Philippe and trying his wines – they really are something special.