We pour wines which are natural and biodynamic, grown organically and produced in a more sustainable way than conventional wines.
Natural or real wine is wine as it was always made, before wine became a mass-market global commodity that is made with the addition of pesticides and herbicides, commercial yeasts and chemicals, including the infamous sulphites, to create uniform wine that tastes the same year after year, bottle after bottle, despite fluctuations in weather and climate.
Biodynamic farming is a big focus on this new list, with around half of our wines now farmed not just organically, but biodynamically. Contrary to what some say, this isn’t just about burying cow horns. It’s about giving back to the soil more than you take, regenerating the land, encouraging and restoring plant and animal biodiversity and working with the natural rhythm and cycle of nature. Vineyards are farms and, like all regenerative farmers, responsible viticulturists strive to be stewards of the soil, leaving it in a better shape than they found it.
Nothing’s perfect, winemaking done properly is a tough business. Our list is not dogmatic, it’s a celebration of some of our favourite wines made by winemakers that we respect for their commitment to wine that is truly alive. Just like the grapes inside the bottles, our list will change and evolve with time, as we taste and learn more about these wild wines and the wild people that make them.
We hope you enjoy those that we have discovered so far…
See our full wine list (pdf) here.
We also sell wine to go. Find out about our Wine Shop here.
Don’t fancy wine? We also go big on local craft beers and cider.
JOIN OUR NEW WINE CLUB – The Grapes & Plates Society and drink wine in for the price of wine to go, Mondays to Wednesdays 🍇& 🍴
What is natural wine?
Natural Wine is farmed organically and made without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used, and intervention is kept to a minimum. They are unfined and unfiltered, resulting in a living wine with character and personality – sometimes with cloudiness and a slight effervescence.
What about biodynamic?
The idea behind biodynamics is that everything in the universe is interconnected, including the moon, planets and stars. Biodynamic farming is completely organic, but also follows a special lunar calendar. Additionally, biodynamic wine allows no ‘manufactured’ additions, even organic ones. For example, commercial yeast won’t be added to the wine, instead harnessing naturally occurring yeasts from the grapes and winery – the ultimate expression of terroir.
The issue of sulphites
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is used by many winemakers to preserve wine and prevent oxidation. Natural wine has no added sulphur (although some may naturally occur). Apart from the fact that the idea of pumping chemicals into your wine is a bit unpleasant, the use of SO2 has been linked to allergic reactions, asthma and much worse hangovers.
How is our wine sustainable?
Working out whether a wine is sustainable or not is a complicated business, but a few of the key principles to consider are whether farming methods are organic, water and energy efficiency in the vineyard and winery, and whether winery workers are paid fairly and treated well. Transportation is also an important issue, which is why the majority of our wines are from Europe (and Sussex and Kent). We believe a few treats are worth bringing in from further afield, though. Read more about the many ways we aim to be a sustainable restaurant.
Naturally vegan and vegetarian
The reason that not all wine is vegetarian or vegan is the way that it is clarified through a process known as ‘fining’. Common agents used for this are casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder). Natural wine is unfined so naturally vegan.
Last but not least… we love it!
At the end of the day, what is the point in natural, sustainable or biodynamic wine if it doesn’t taste great. For us, natural wine is exciting and expressive on the palate, it is wine with a story to tell and a direct connection to its roots. We believe that what’s in your glass should reflect its natural environment – grapes and growers going their own way, a true taste of terroir and its people.