It was the RAW Fair in the Truman Brewery this weekend, with more than 150 winegrowers representing the best of raw, bio-dynamic and natural wines at the event. Not sure what that really is? Us neither. So we headed down to the show to find out.
The creator of the fair, Isabelle Legeron MW (that's master of wines, FYI) describes raw wines as having "emotion...a humanlike or living presence...and that are an authentic expression of place." Got it? More practically, the wines are also said to be "pure, kind to the planet, very possibly better for your health and best of all they're absolutely delicious." Which we're happy to get on board with.
There does appear to be a lot of mystery - or sometimes just confusion - surrounding these drinks and the natural processes used to make them, so with a glass in hand and our swilling reflexes primed, we asked some of the winemakers how they would sum up bio-dynamic wines in a sentence or two.
"We make organic wines, which is all about the low-tech and DIY way of doing it. Some bio-dynamic rules can be a bit too esoteric, but it's all about being inspired by it and having the freedom to choose from the practises, so we harvest and bottle according to the lunar calendar and use horsetail and stinging nettles for the soil."
Our thoughts: Some fruity little wines by the coolest collective at the fair. Sort of the Daft Punk of the show - they wouldn't reveal their faces as they want to stay anonymous (hence the name).
"Bio-dynamic wines are supercharged organic. It's organic taken to a spiritual level. There can be lots of things that make sense in bio-dynamic farming, like burying manure in a cow's horn in the soil, but others not so much - like burying a shoe in the other end of the vineyard."
Our thoughts: Super tasty wine - props for the bag-in-a-box packaging (the double bonus of being more environmentally sound, plus more wine on tap for us).
Domaine de l'Ausseil
"It's wine grown with low-integration - it's a process from nature and we just accompany that process. So it's natural in the vineyards and natural in the factory."
Our thoughts: Nice graduation of intensity through their set of bottles with a lovely light red to start with.
"Bio-dynamic is a holistic view where everything is interdependent, rather than being pro-active. It's like homeopathic remedies, self help to help the vines. The perfect way of bio-dynamic farming is when you have achieved an equilibrium following nature."
Our thoughts: Crispy and fresh whites - apparently from all the love being radiated into the vineyards.
Albury Organic Vineyard - Monty's Pet Nat
"Bio-dynamic is allowing the vineyard to be as self-sufficient as it can be and of working with natural cycles, like the lunar and solar. It's about making wine that's good for the soul and good for the body."
Our thoughts: See you later, Prosecco. Lightly sparkling, citrusy English wine that we'd happily down all summer long.