The “monstrous paradox”: Vini Veri manifesto calls out a lack of technical ability in natural wine production today.

Above, far left: Sandro Sangiorgi, one of the authors of the recently published Vini Veri manifesto that squarely criticizes a new wave of natural producers who consider “technical ability an obstacle” to making their wines. A top wine writer and taster, Sangiorgi is widely considered one of Italy’s leading experts on and advocates for natural wine (image via the Porthos website).

Last week, during the Vini Veri natural wine fair in Cerea, Italy, the organizers released a new manifesto signed and presumably penned by wine writer, educator, and leading Italian taster Sandro Sangiorgi, “La forma e la sostanza, le luci e le ombre” (“Shape, substance, light, and shadow”).

In this short essay (roughly 350 words), the signatories Sangiorgi and Paolo Vodopivec, the current president of Vini Veri, criticize producers of natural wine who “consider technical ability an obstacle” to making great wine. “It’s as if [they believe that] the less one knows, the better the outcome.”

“Many producers have become perilously accustomed to technical imperfections,” they opine:

    some more grave than others, as the winemakers consider them venial sins or, even worse, characteristics of their wines and even of their colleagues’ wines. I sensed this would happen but I tried as carefully as possible not to believe it. This comes on the heels of the monstrous misunderstanding of conventional wineries that have issued appeals to underline the need for chemicals and biotechnology to call fermented grape must “wine.” Now we are shifting to a monstrous paradox of those who consider technical ability an obstacle to making aromatic liquid. It’s as if the less one knows, the better the outcome. (Translation mine.)

This “laxity” has led to the release of “undrinkable liquids” (“liquidi imbevibili” in the original).

The authors go on to encourage producers “not to fall into the trap of genuineness being the only criterion for quality.”

Besides learning how to make and age wines, they write in closing, it is important for natural winemakers to “learn how to taste so that they can develop a sense of beauty that elevates but does not compromise their efforts.”

The manifesto was published in its entirety by both WineNews.it and GamberoRosso.it. While Wine News generally tends to avoid controversy, the editors of the Gambero Rosso have been highly critical of the natural wine movement.

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